Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Is There a Right to Respect?


Many moral philosophers assume that a person is entitled to respect; this suggests that there is a right to respect. I argue, however, that there is no such right. There can be no right to respect because of what respect is, in conjunction with what a right demands and certain limitations of human agency. In this article, I first examine the nature and ontological basis of rights. I next consider the notion of respect in general; I adduce several varieties of respect, then present a primary distinction needed to discern the notion of respect relevant to the putative right. Then I propound the argument that there can be no right to respect and consider some means of challenging its conclusion. In closing, I trace some of the consequences of this argument and suggest how it might motivate a different approach to understanding our most basic obligations to one another.

Hide All
S. Buss , ‘Respect for Persons’, Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 29 (1999), pp. 517–50

W. Frankena , ‘The Ethics of Respect for Persons’, Philosophical Topics 14 (1986), pp. 149–67

S. Darwall , ‘Two Kinds of Respect’, Ethics, 88 (1977), pp. 3649

R. Dillon , ‘Respect and Care: Toward Moral Integration’, Canadian Journal of Philosophy 22 (1992), pp. 105–32

W. Sinnott-Armstrong , ‘ “Ought” Conversationally Implies “Can” ’, The Philosophical Review 93 (1984), pp. 249–61

S. Hudson , ‘The Nature of Respect’, Social Theory and Practice 6 (1980), pp. 6990

J. Silber , ‘Kant's Conception of the Highest Good as Immanent and Transcendent’, The Philosophical Review 68 (1959), pp. 469–92.)

H. Frankfurt , ‘Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility’, Journal of Philosophy 66 (1969), pp. 829–39

J. M. Fischer , ‘Recent Work on Moral Responsibility’, Ethics 110 (1999), pp. 93139

D. Widerker , ‘Frankfurt on “Ought Implies Can” and Alternative Possibilities’, Analysis 51 (1991), pp. 222–4

I. Haji , ‘Alternative Possibilities, Moral Obligation, and Moral Responsibility’, Philosophical Papers 22 (1993), pp. 4150

D. Copp , ‘Defending the Principle of Alternate Possibilities: Blameworthiness and Moral Responsibility’, Noûs 31 (1997), pp. 441–56

J. Kekes , ‘ “Ought Implies Can” and Two Kinds of Morality’, The Philosophical Quarterly 34 (1984), pp. 459–67

W. Alston , ‘The Deontological Conception of Epistemic Justification’, Philosophical Perspectives 2 (1988), pp. 257–99

R. Feldman , ‘Voluntary Belief and Epistemic Evaluation’, Knowledge, Truth, and Duty: Essays on Epistemic Justification, Responsibility and Virtue, ed. M. Steup (New York, 2001), pp. 7792

C. Ginet , ‘Deciding to Believe’, Knowledge, Truth, and Duty: Essays on Epistemic Justification, Responsibility and Virtue, ed. M. Steup (New York, 2001), pp. 6376

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0953-8208
  • EISSN: 1741-6183
  • URL: /core/journals/utilitas
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 3
Total number of PDF views: 42 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 265 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 19th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.