Respect, self-respect, and self-knowledge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Philosophers (particularly those in the Kantian tradition) have carefully investigated what respect for others, as well as respect for ourselves, requires morally. But they have said relatively little about what respect requires in the way of knowledge, i.e., of what respect asks us to know or forbids us from knowing. Morality clearly has an epistemic dimension. Knowledge is good, but it does not follow thereby that every parcel of knowledge is equally good or w orthy of our pursuit. A fortiori, there may well be parcels of knowledge we haveduties to pursue or duties to forego pursuing. So what does respect require of us in the epistemic sphere? Respect, I shall argue, generates epistemic imperatives. Curiously though, these imperatives take on different forms depending on whom respect is directed at. In the case of respect for others, we are sometimes required not to pursue knowledge of them or not to make use of what we know about them. Their separateness from us places morally justified constraints on how we relate to them epistemically. In contrast, in the case of self-respect, we're required to pursue self-knowledge and to make use of it in our deliberating and choosing. A person who claims to respect themselves, or who aspires to do so, but is entirely uncurious about fundamental facts regarding their values, personality, character, etc. has overlooked the specifically epistemic dimension of self-respect.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Monist
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 Oct 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • respect
  • self-respect
  • self-knowledge


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