Book

Communities of Respect

Bennett W. Helm

Published in print July 2017 | ISBN: 9780198801863
Published online August 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191840425 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198801863.001.0001
Communities of Respect

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Communities of respect are communities of people sharing common practices or a (partial) way of life; they include families, clubs, religious groups, and political parties. This book develops a detailed account of such communities in terms of the rational structure of their members’ reactive attitudes, arguing that they are fundamental in three interrelated ways to understanding what it is to be a person. First, it is only by being a member of a community of respect that one can be a responsible agent having dignity; such an agent therefore has certain rights as well as the authority to demand that fellow members recognize her dignity and follow the norms of the community, norms compliance with which they likewise have the authority to demand from her. Second, by prescribing or proscribing both actions and values, communities of respect can shape the identities of its members in ways that others have the authority to enforce, thereby revealing an important interpersonal dimension of the identities of persons. Finally, all of this is grounded in a distinctively interpersonal form of practical rationality in virtue of which we jointly have reasons to recognize the dignity and authority of fellow members and so to comply with their authoritative demands, as well as to respect (and so comply with) the norms of the community. Hence we persons are essentially social creatures.

Keywords: community; respect; concept of a person; responsibility; authority; dignity; identity; reactive attitudes; emotions; values

Book.  272 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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Table of Contents

Towards a Social Conception of Persons in Communities of Respect

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Respect and the Reactive Attitudes in Communities of Respect

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Roles, Relationships, and Blame in Communities of Respect

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Persons in the First-Person Plural in Communities of Respect

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