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Communities of RespectGrounding Responsibility, Authority, and Dignity$
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Bennett W. Helm

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198801863

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198801863.001.0001

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Respect and the Reactive Attitudes

Respect and the Reactive Attitudes

(p.55) 3 Respect and the Reactive Attitudes
Communities of Respect

Bennett W. Helm

Oxford University Press

The nature of both respect and the reactive attitudes is illuminated by understanding the reactive attitudes to be a class of emotions distinguished by their forming a distinctively interpersonal pattern of rationality. In feeling a reactive attitude such as resentment, one holds the wrongdoer responsible by “calling on” him to feel guilt and on witnesses to feel disapprobation or indignation; other things being equal, one’s resentment is unwarranted if that “call” is not taken up by others. This call and its uptake are made intelligible through the community members’ joint background commitment to the value of the community and its norms, and to the dignity of its members as members—a commitment undertaken and reaffirmed in their reactive attitudes. The resulting interpersonal rational patterns of reactive attitudes constitute their joint recognition respect for its norms and for each other as a part of their joint reverence for the community.

Keywords:   reverence, recognition respect, dignity, reactive attitudes, joint commitment, community

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