Colloquium: "The Possibility of Respect: Towards An Ethics of Difference"

Remy Debes, The University of Memphis

Abstract: In this talk, I explore the connection between understanding persons and respecting them. This connection is the focus of a current book project. But instead of delving into the nuances of the central theoretical claims of this project, in this talk I will explore what motivates it. In doing so, my goal is to upset longstanding philosophical biases towards rationalist and rights-based theories of respect, to help clear conceptual space for my alternative claim that understanding persons sometimes constitutes a way of respecting them. The upshot, I will argue, is a view about respect that is focused on persons in their individuality, and the promise of an ethics premised on difference.