According to John Rawls, self-respect is the most important of the primary goods and is essential for the construction of the just society. Self-respect, however, remains a concept which is inadequately theorised, being closely linked to other concepts such as dignity, shame, pride, autonomy and security. Most usually self-respect is considered to be just the self-reflection of the respect we receive from others. In this paper I argue that self-respect consists of both a self-evaluative and a social reflexive element. Using Darwall’s distinction between two types of respect as a building block, I argue that it is worth considering self-respect as having three dimensions. Broadly these are human recognition, status recognition and appraisal.
This is a preview of subscription content,to check access.