Dignity and the Phenomenology of Recognition-Respect

In J. J. Drummond & S. Rinofner-Kreidl (eds.), Emotional Experiences: Ethical and Social Significance. London and New York: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 121-136 (2017)
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Abstract
What is dignity? My starting point is that dignity is one of those philosophical primitives that admit of no informative analysis. Nonetheless, I suggest, dignity might yield to indirect illumination when we consider the kind of experience we have (or rather find it fitting to have) in its presence. This experience, I claim, is what is sometimes known as recognition-respect. Through an examination of a neglected aspect of the phenomenology of recognition-respect, I argue that the possession of inner consciousness is a precondition for the possession of dignity. The reason for this, I suggest, is that the ultimate privacy of the contents of our consciousness grounds a kind of inviolability characteristic of dignity.
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First archival date: 2016-08-15
Latest version: 5 (2018-09-18)
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Mental Reality.Strawson, Galen
Totality and Infinity.Levinas, Emmanuel
Two Kinds of Respect.Darwall, Stephen

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