Res Publica

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 103–122 | Cite as

Respect in Neo-Republicanism: A Good Too Rich or Too Thin?

  • Dimitrios E. EfthymiouEmail author


The article critically examines the neo-Republican conception of respect put forward by Philip Pettit in Robust Demands of the Good (RDG). The paper argues that Pettit’s treatment of respect as a rich good in RDG is too thin in some ways, but too rich in others. There are four critical claims to support this argument. First, that (a) both invading the domain of basic liberties, and failing to protect and resource the capacity to exercise choice, constitute individually sufficient conditions for disrespectful treatment, and (b) that the protection and resourcing of basic liberties are both relevant domains over which an appropriate disposition is also necessary for the provision of the rich good of respect. Second, that it is unnecessary and undesirable to rely on local conventions to provide a specification of the treatment that the status of respect requires. Third, that providing respect as a rich good in conditions of reasonable pluralism implies treating minorities in a disrespectful way. Fourth, that the role given to law in supporting the provision of the rich good of respect leads to a difficult dilemma for Pettit: either the full enjoyment of respect is not possible in nearby worlds, or it is only possible in ideal conditions that are far from nearby worlds.


Respect Republicanism Civic virtue Rich goods Social justice Non-domination 



I would like to thank the two anonymous referees for their comments. I am grateful to Dorothea Gädeke, Kristina Lindemann, Philippe Pettit, Nicholas Vrousalis for comments and discussions. I am also particularly grateful to Rainer Forst and Stefan Gosepath for their support as directors of ‘Justitia Amplificata’.


The funding was provided by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Grand No. 1206).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Advanced Studies Justitia AmplificataGoethe-Universität Frankfurt am MainFrankfurt am MainGermany

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