Respect: A History



Remy Debes provides a historical background for the prominent role that respect plays in current moral discussion. But, true to the spirit of this volume as philosophical rather than encyclopedic, Debes does not just describe texts and list dates. Instead, he raises doubts about the standard story about the rising influence of the idea of respect for persons, that it comes mainly and directly from Immanuel Kant. Debes offers evidence that by the time Kant’s writings gained influence in the English-speaking world, the movement toward the importance of respect for all persons already was well underway, albeit often using terminology other than “respect.” This movement grew partly among moral and political philosophers, and political activists, but also in underappreciated literary writing, often written by women and men of color.

Publication Title

Respect: Philosophical Essays