A Relationship to Persons

  • James KellenbergerEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Frontiers in Philosophy of Religion book series (PFPR)


In this chapter the second element of coming into the presence of persons is turned to: becoming aware of a relationship to them. The relationship one comes to or becomes aware of is of a primary sort and stands opposed to the relationship we have to a store clerk qua store clerk or the President of the United States qua President. It is a primary relationship, and it can take different forms. When one is moved to sympathy for persons by seeing their plight the relationship to them that one comes to is informed by that sympathy. In another setting one might come to respect for them (another response in the respect-love range), and the entered relationship to them is defined by respect for them as persons. The question is raised: If one appreciates the moral necessity of treating persons not merely as means, will one then be aware of the primary relationship one has to them as persons? If we are clear that a person or persons morally should not be treated merely as means, will we also be clear that we stand in this primary relationship in some form to that persons or those persons? The answer to this question, it is argued, is no, not necessarily. There is a distinction between being indifferent to persons qua objects of moral justice or as ends and being indifferent to persons qua objects of personal attitudes.


A primary relationship to persons The second element 

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NorthridgeUSA

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