A Conversive Theory of Respect

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Philip Pettit develops an account of the fundamental nature and basis of respect. Pettit’s “conversive” theory of respect draws on the fact that our unique command of language provides us with a “special means of mutual influence,” making us accessible to each other’s understanding. Cooperative, conversive practice inevitably generates some shared expectations and standards for what you ought to believe and even, allowing for individual variation, for what you ought to desire or intend. We will respect you in the conversive sense when we are robustly guided and constrained by your responsiveness to such standards. We will be guided to the extent that, in conversive exchange, we seek to shape your attitudes of belief and desire only in accordance with those standards. We will be constrained to the extent that in relating to you in other ways, we robustly avoid any behavior that is precluded or prohibited by the standards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRespect
Subtitle of host publicationPhilosophical Essays
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9780198824930
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


  • communication
  • conversive
  • reasons
  • respect
  • robust
  • standards


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