Respect and the Reactive Attitudes

Bennett W. Helm

in Communities of Respect

Published in print July 2017 | ISBN: 9780198801863
Published online August 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191840425 | DOI:
Respect and the Reactive Attitudes

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The nature of both respect and the reactive attitudes is illuminated by understanding the reactive attitudes to be a class of emotions distinguished by their forming a distinctively interpersonal pattern of rationality. In feeling a reactive attitude such as resentment, one holds the wrongdoer responsible by “calling on” him to feel guilt and on witnesses to feel disapprobation or indignation; other things being equal, one’s resentment is unwarranted if that “call” is not taken up by others. This call and its uptake are made intelligible through the community members’ joint background commitment to the value of the community and its norms, and to the dignity of its members as members—a commitment undertaken and reaffirmed in their reactive attitudes. The resulting interpersonal rational patterns of reactive attitudes constitute their joint recognition respect for its norms and for each other as a part of their joint reverence for the community.

Keywords: reverence; recognition respect; dignity; reactive attitudes; joint commitment; community

Chapter.  17535 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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