Respect Beyond Persons
In: Itinerari, 2021
The principle of respect is usually intended as respect for persons. Kant maintained that only persons could be the object of a duty of respect. Yet, a number of strategies have been proposed to make the principle more inclusive, mainly by expanding the circle of those covered by the principle. This article proposes a different strategy, based on a reformulation of the principle. Respect is the encounter of different powers, confronting each other at different levels and generating different kinds of duties. We should recognise that autonomy is a form of power, but it is not the only power that we have. We are also living beings, and natural entities, and these are also forms of power. So, at each level, there is respect for the kind of power facing us and this implies different levels of responsibility. This strategy is better than expanding the circle of “autonomous agents” and better than trying to ground rights for living beings and for natural entities.
Keywords: Respect, Kant, Animals, Persons, Power.