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Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics Volume 10$
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Mark Timmons

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198867944

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198867944.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 07 December 2021

Equal Respect for Rational Agency

Equal Respect for Rational Agency

Chapter:
(p.182) 8 Equal Respect for Rational Agency
Source:
Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics Volume 10
Author(s):

Michael Cholbi

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198867944.003.0009

Individuals are owed equal respect. But on the basis of what property of individuals are they owed such respect? A popular Kantian answer—rational agency—appears less plausible in light of the growing psychological evidence that human choice is subject to a wide array of biases (framing, laziness, etc.); human beings are neither equal in rational agency nor especially robust rational agents. Defenders of this Kantian answer thus need a non-ideal theory of equal respect for rational agency, one that takes seriously our characteristic deficiencies of practical rationality without junking the niotion that rational agency entitles us to equal respect. This chapter defends an understanding of respect for rational agency wherein the object of such respect is individuals’ aspiration to rationally govern their lives. This understanding of respect for rational agency retains the core notion of respect as a kind of deference, directs respect at persons, has suitably egalitarian implications, and does not require us to deny the aforementioned psychological evidence regarding the infirmities of human rationality.

Keywords:   respect, equality, rational agency, rationality, choice biases, non-ideal theory, Kantian ethics

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