Social connection, interdependence and being sure of ourselves

Analysis 82 (3):571-584 (2022)
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Being sure of each other is the blossoming of Kimberley Brownlee’s earlier work on the intrinsic value and qualities of human connection (2013, 2016c, 2016b), opening with a scene from A. A. Milne’s House at Pooh Corner: lost in the woods together, Piglet takes Pooh’s paw ‘just to be sure’ of his friend. The importance of social connection is often overlooked because it is central to our lives, like breathable air. Brownlee’s work highlights the need for social connection, as deserving of more philosophical attention and practical protection through rights. But her key insight is that receiving relational goods isn’t all that matters: being able and permitted to provide relational goods to others, as Piglet and Pooh receive and offer each other reassurance, is just as essential for our wellbeing. Brownlee argues these interests are strong enough to ground rights (2016c: 28).

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Helen Brown Coverdale
University College London


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