Respect for What?

Social Theory and Practice 41 (4):692-715 (2015)
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As liberals, we would like each person to direct her own life in accordance with her will. However, because of the complexities of the human mind, it is very often not clear what a person wills. She may choose one thing though she prefers another, while having false beliefs the correction of which would cause her to prefer some third thing. I propose, against this background, that to respect a person’s will or self-direction is to respect both her choices and her preferences, with some priority given to those preferences that are informed and coherent. This is a pluralist answer to the neglected question, “respect for what?”
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