Love as a Virtue and a Principle | HuffPost
Here's how to do your part – nine things your relationships need from you: The most important trip you will ever take in life is meeting others half way. Forgiveness is one of the greatest virtues to which you should always seek. Also, respect yourself enough to never feel guilty about removing toxic. Respect is a response in us, towards someone whose virtues or integrity are Why is respect considered to be the most important thing? Respect is one of the most important feelings human beings have to guide their personal relationships. Respect is a positive feeling or action shown towards someone or something considered important, or held in high esteem or regard; it conveys a sense of.
Attention Neglect based on lack of attention damages relationships far more often than malicious abuse. When we pay attention to each other we breathe new life into each other.
With frequent attention and affection our relationships flourish, and we as individuals grow stronger.
Tolerance is more than putting up with things – it's a moral virtue
Stay in close touch with those who matter to you — communicate openly on a regular basis. Trust The entire fabric of our society — people working, living and breathing together — relies on the positive beliefs we have about each other — a subtle, inherent trust. This trust is the glue that holds every peaceful civilization together.
Which is why trust is the greatest compliment you can give a person, even greater than love. The only way to build this trust, or find out if someone is trustworthy, is to trust them. A friend for life or a lesson for life. Either way the outcome is positive — you determine which relationships are worth your long-term attention.
Honesty When your intentions are good and your cause is just, honesty will always help you. When your heart is open to love and truthyour lips will not utter lies that haunt you. When people are honest with each other up front, the truth may hurt sooner, but the suffering always dies faster, and out of this suffering comes growth.
Be honest about what you want in a relationship and how you want to be treated. Be honest with every aspect of your relationships, always. If you are unsure in any way, be sure to say so. Always be open and honest. In other words, be loyal. These are not vague characteristics of a person; they are habits that we train ourselves to put into practice in our daily lives. These habits create profound satisfaction in our relationships. Cultivating these habits in all of our relationships requires we think of love as a principle of respect rather than a transient and unreliable emotion.
This practice is more relevant now than ever before because of the feelings of alienation and disconnect in our high-tech society.
When we have love to give, we can express it with respect, kind words and actions, even when the conditions don't seem to warrant loving-kindness. To foster love, we have to be honest in little and big matters.
To demonstrate love, we can give our undivided attention whether we are at work or at home. Just silently listening and being present can be a loving gesture. Another question is whether treating people with respect requires treating them equally.
One view is that the equality of persons entails equal treatment; another view is that equal treatment would involve failing to respect the important differences among persons.
Love as a Virtue and a Principle
On the latter view, it is respectful to deal with each individual impartially and exclusively on the basis of whatever aspects of the individual or the situation are relevant Frankfurt Indeed, most contemporary discussions of respect for persons explicitly claim to rely on, develop, or challenge some aspect of Kant's ethics. Central to Kant's ethical theory is the claim that all persons are owed respect just because they are persons, that is, free rational beings.
To be a person is to have a status and worth that is unlike that of any other kind of being: And the only response that is appropriate to such a being is respect. Respect that is, moral recognition respect is the acknowledgment in attitude and conduct of the dignity of persons as ends in themselves.
Respect for such beings is not only appropriate but also morally and unconditionally required: Because we are all too often inclined not to respect persons, not to value them as they ought to be valued, one formulation of the Categorical Imperative, which is the supreme principle of morality, commands that our actions express due respect for the worth of persons: Our fundamental moral obligation, then, is to respect persons; morally right actions are thus those that express respect for persons as ends in themselves, while morally wrong actions are those that express disrespect or contempt for persons by not valuing them as ends in themselves Wood In addition to this general commandment, Kant argues that there are also more specific duties of respect for other persons and self-respect, to which we'll return.
For now, we must address the question, What is it to be an end in itself and to possess dignity? The concept of an end has several meanings for Kant. In one sense, to be an end is to have some kind of value or worth. Most things have value as the objects of our desires, interests, or affections; they are the ends we pursue or produce, our subjective ends. But the worth of an end in itself is worth that is not relative to, conditional on, or derived from being the object of anyone's desires or affections.
Rather, its worth is intrinsic to it, unconditional, incomparable, and objective. Kant argues that rational beings are the only entities that are ends in themselves and that all rational beings are ends in themselves. In arguing for respect for the dignity of persons, Kant explicitly rejects two other conceptions of human value: Dignity is also incomparable worth: And dignity is absolute or objective worth, which means that it is a value that everyone has compelling reason to acknowledge, regardless of their antecedent desires, interests, or affections.
This brings us to a second sense in which persons are ends in themselves. In particular, they must never be treated merely as means, as things that we may use however we want in order to advance our interests, and they must always be treated as the supremely valuable beings that they are. Note that it is not wrong to treat persons as means to our ends; indeed we could not get along in life if we could not make use of the talents, abilities, service, and labor of other people.
What we must not do is to treat persons as mere means to our ends, to treat them as if the only value they have is what derives from their usefulness to us. As the Categorical Imperative indicates, it is humanity in persons, strictly speaking, that has dignity; that is, it is in virtue of the humanity in them that people are and so ought to be treated as ends in themselves. Commentators generally identify humanity that which makes us distinctively human beings and sets us apart from all other animal species with two closely related aspects of rationality: The capacity to set ends, which is the power of rational choice, is the capacity to value things through rational judgment: It is also, thereby, the capacity to value ends in themselves, and so it includes the capacity for respect Velleman The capacity to be autonomous is the capacity to be self-legislating and self-governing, that is, a the capacity to legislate moral laws that are valid for all rational beings through one's rational willing by recognizing, using reason alone, what counts as a moral obligation, and b the capacity then to freely resolve to act in accordance with moral laws because they are self-imposed by one's own reason and not because one is compelled to act by any forces external to one's reason and will, including one's own desires and inclinations.
The capacity to be autonomous is thus also the capacity to freely direct, shape, and determine the meaning of one's own life, and it is the condition for moral responsibility. But why does the possession of these capacities make persons ends in themselves? Kant argues that moral principles must be categorical imperatives, which is to say that they must be rational requirements to which we are unconditionally subject, regardless of whatever inclinations, interests, goals, or projects we might have.
But there could be categorical imperatives only if there is something of absolute worth. Only persons have this kind of worth, and they have it because the capacity to set ends, or to confer value on things, is the source of all objective value as Korsgaard and Wood have arguedand the capacity for autonomy is the source, on the one hand, both of the obligatoriness of moral law and of responsible moral actions, and on the other, of all realized human goodness.
As the sources of all value and of morality itself, then, these rational capacities are the basis of the absolute worth or dignity of rational beings. Kant maintains that all rational beings necessarily attribute this value to themselves and that they must, on reflection, acknowledge that every other rational being has the same value and on the same grounds: It is thus not as members of the biological species homo sapiens that we have dignity and so are owed moral recognition respect, but as rational beings who are capable of moral agency.
There are several important consequences of this view regarding the scope of recognition respect for persons. First, while all normally functioning human beings possess the rational capacities that ground recognition respect, there can be humans in whom these capacities are altogether absent and who therefore, on this view, are not persons and are not owed respect.
Second, these capacities may be possessed by beings who are not biologically human, and such beings would also be persons with dignity whom we are morally obligated to respect. Third, because dignity is an absolute worth grounded in the rational capacities for morality, it is in no way conditional on how well or badly those capacities are exercised, on whether a person acts morally or has a morally good character or not.
Thus, dignity cannot be diminished or lost through vice or morally bad action, nor can it be increased through virtue or morally correct action. Because personhood and dignity are not matters of degree, neither is the recognition respect owed to persons. Once a person, always a person barring, say, brain deathand so individuals cannot forfeit dignity or the right to recognition respect no matter what they do.
It follows that even the morally worst individuals must still be regarded as ends in themselves and treated with respect. Of course, wrongdoing may call for punishment and may be grounds for forfeiting certain rights, but it is not grounds for losing dignity or for regarding the wrongdoer as worthless scum.
Recognition respect is not something individuals have to earn or might fail to earn, but something they are owed simply because they are rational beings. Finally, because dignity is absolute and incomparable, the worth of all rational beings is equal. Thus the morally worst persons have the same dignity as the morally best persons, although the former, we might say, fail to live up to their dignity. What grounds dignity is something that all persons have in common, not something that distinguishes one individual from another.
Thus each person is to be respected as an equal among equals, without consideration of their individual achievements or failures, social rank, moral merit or demerit, or any feature other than their common rational nature. However, the equality of all rational beings does not entail that each person must be treated the same as every other persons, nor does it entail that persons cannot also be differentially evaluated and valued in other ways for their particular qualities, accomplishments, merit, or usefulness.
But such valuing and treatment must always be constrained by the moral requirement to accord recognition respect to persons as ends in themselves. In The Metaphysics of Morals, Kant develops the implications of this view of persons as ends in themselves.
In his doctrine of justice he argues that persons, by virtue of their rational nature, are bearers of fundamental rights, including the innate right to freedom, which must be respected by other persons and by social institutions.
The dignity of persons also imposes limits on permissible reasons for and forms of legal punishment.
In his doctrine of virtue, Kant discusses specific moral duties of recognition respect for other persons, as well as duties of self-respect, to which we'll return below. Here, Kant explicitly invokes the notion of respect as observantia.
We have no moral duty to feel respect for others, he holds, for we cannot have a moral duty to have any feeling, since feelings are not directly controllable by our will. This duty of recognition respect owed to others requires two things: We also have duties of love to others, and Kant argues that in friendship respect and love, which naturally pull in opposite directions, achieve a perfect balance. Subsequent work in a Kantian vein on the duty of respect for others has expanded the list of ways that we are morally required by respect to treat persons.
In particular, although Kant says that the duties of recognition respect are strictly negative, consisting in not engaging in certain conduct or having certain attitudes, many philosophers have argued that respecting others involves positive actions and attitudes as well. The importance of autonomy and agency in Kant's moral philosophy has led many philosophers to highlight respect for autonomy.
Thus, we respect others as persons negatively by doing nothing to impair or destroy their capacity for autonomy, by not interfering with their autonomous decisions and their pursuit of morally acceptable the ends they value, and by not coercing or deceiving them or treating them paternalistically. We also respect them positively by protecting them from threats to their autonomy which may require intervention when someone's current decisions seem to put their own autonomy at risk and by promoting autonomy and the conditions for it for example, by allowing and encouraging individuals to make their own decisions, take responsibility for their actions, and control their own lives.
Some philosophers have highlighted Kant's claim that rationality is the ground for recognition respect, arguing that to respect others is to engage with them not as instruments or obstacles but as persons who are to be reasoned with. So, for example, we should employ considerations that are accessible to other persons and provide them with genuine reasons in our dealings with them rather than trying to manipulate them through nonrational techniques such as threat or bribery, act toward them only in ways to which they could give rational consent, and be willing to listen to them and take their reasons seriously.
The importance of the capacity to set ends and value things has been taken by some philosophers to entail that respect also involves consideration for the interests of others; so, we should help them to promote and protect what they value and to pursue their ends, provided these are compatible with due respect for other persons, and we should make an effort to appreciate values that are different from our own.Jordan Peterson - Don't be harmless!
Kant's emphasis in the doctrine of justice on the fundamental rights that persons have has led still others to view the duty of recognition respect for persons as the duty to respect the moral rights they have as persons; some have claimed that the duty to respect is nothing more than the duty to refrain from violating these rights BennFeinberg One final dimension of Kant's discussions of respect that is worth mentioning is his attention to the feeling of respect reverentia.
In the Groundwork Kant identifies the object of the feeling of respect as the moral law and says that respect for the moral law is the only moral motive Groundwork 4: As a complex experience that is both the cognitive recognition of the moral law and an affective state McCartyreverential respect is the way, and the only way, in which are aware of the self-legislated rational principles for action that unconditionally constrain our inclinations Stratton-Lake In recognizing the moral law we are conscious of it in a way that involves two contrasting yet simultaneously experienced feelings.
First, in being aware of the law as having absolute authority, we experience the subordination of our will to its commands. This consciousness of subordination involves a painful, humbling feeling insofar as our self-love our efforts to satisfy our desires and pursue our ends is constrained and our self-conceit our attempts to esteem ourselves independently of moral considerations is struck down by the moral law's claim to supreme authority.
At the same time, however, our awareness of the moral law involves a pleasurably uplifting feeling insofar as we recognize our own reason to be its only source. Reverential respect is a unique feeling not only in that it is produced by reason alone but also in that it is the only feeling that we can know a priori, which is to say that we can know that the moral experience of every human agent is necessarily and inescapably one of reverential respect for the moral law, for we cannot be aware of the moral law except reverentially Stratton-Lake It is, of course and unfortunately, also true that many of us, perhaps most of us most of the time, ignore this feeling and so act morally inappropriately.
As the way in which we are motivated to obey the moral law, reverential respect for the law is thus the way in which we are motivated to treat persons with recognition respect as the law commands us to do. However, there is another, deeper connection between respect for the law and respect for persons.
For the discussion in the Critique makes it clear that reverential respect for the moral law is at the same time reverential respect for oneself, qua rational being, as the author of the law. There is, finally, one further interesting relation between respect for the law and respect for persons. Although Kant says that the moral law is the sole object of respect Groundwork 4: This feeling is both reverential respect for the moral law which such individuals exemplify Groundwork 4: Kant holds that reverence for morally good people, like reverential respect for the moral law, is something we necessarily and unavoidably feel, although we might pretend we don't or refuse to acknowledge or show it.
Reverential respect for morally good persons contrasts with the duty to give recognition respect to all persons in our attitudes and conduct, for the former is something we can't help feeling for some people, while the latter is a way we are obligated to comport ourselves toward all persons regardless of our feelings and their moral performance. We might, however, regard the two as linked, by regarding our recognition and appreciation of the dignity of others as involving a feeling that we can't help but experience and to which we commit ourselves to living up to in acknowledging the moral duty to respect persons just because they are persons Hill Some of the discussions have focused on more theoretical issues.
For example, Kant gives the notion of respect for persons a central and vital role in moral theory. One issue that has since concerned philosophers is whether respect for persons is the definitive focus of morality, either in the sense that moral rightness and goodness and hence all specific moral duties, rights, and virtues are explainable in terms of respect or in the sense that the supreme moral principle from which all other principles are derived is a principle of respect for persons.
Some philosophers have developed ethical theories in which a principle of respect for persons is identified as the fundamental and comprehensive moral requirement for example, DonaganDownie and Telfer Others for example, HillFrankenaCranor argue that while respect for persons is surely a very important moral consideration, it cannot be the principle from which the rest of morality is deduced. They maintain that there are moral contexts in which respect for persons is not an issue and that there are other dimensions of our moral relations with others that seem not to reduce to respect.
Moreover, they argue, such a principle would seem not to provide moral grounds for believing that we ought to treat mentally incapacitated humans or nonhuman animals decently, or would as Kant argues make a duty to respect such beings only an indirect duty—one we have only because it is a way of respecting persons who value such beings or because our duty to respect ourselves requires that we not engage in activities that would dull our ability to treat persons decently—rather than a direct duty to such beings Kant6: Some theorists maintain that utilitarianism, a moral theory generally thought to be a rival to Kant's theory, is superior with regard to this last point.
9 Things Your Relationships Need From You
A utilitarian might argue that it is sentience rather than the capacity for rational autonomy that is the ground of moral recognition respect, and so would regard mentally incapacitated humans and nonhuman animals as having moral standing and so as worthy of at least some moral respect in themselves. Another issue, then, is whether utilitarianism or more generally, consequentialism can indeed accommodate a principle of respect for persons.
In opposition to the utilitarian claim, some Kantians argue that Kant's ethics is distinguishable from consequentialist ethics precisely in maintaining that the fundamental demand of morality is not that we promote some value, such as the happiness of sentient beings, but that we respect the worth of humanity regardless of the consequences of doing so KorsegaardWood Thus, some philosophers argue that utilitarianism is inconsistent with respect for persons, inasmuch as utilitarianism, in requiring that all actions, principles, or motives promote the greatest good, requires treating persons as mere means on those occasions when doing so maximizes utility, whereas the very point of a principle of respect for persons is to rule out such trading of persons and their dignity for some other value BennBrody In opposition, other theorists maintain not only that a consequentialist theory can accommodate the idea of respect for person Downie and TelferGruzalskiLandesmanPettitCummiskeybut also that utilitarianism is derivable from a principle of respect for persons Downie and Telfer and that consequentialist theories provide a better grounding for duties to respect persons Pettit In addition to the debate between Kantian theory and utilitarianism, theoretical work has also been done in developing the role of respect for persons in Habermasian communicative ethics YoungBenhabib and in Aristotelian ethics ThompsonFrickeJacobsin exploring similarities and differences between western Kantian views of respect for persons and Indian Ghosh-DastidarConfucian LuChanWawrytkoand Taoist views Wongand in developing a distinctively feminist account of respect for persons FarleyDillon a.
Other philosophical discussions have been concerned with clarifying the nature of the respect that is owed to persons and of the persons that are owed respect. Some of these discussions aim to refine and develop Kant's account, while others criticize it and offer alternatives. Darwalldraws on Kant in revising his own understanding of the nature of recognition respect for persons, calling attention to an under-discussed dimension of the dignity of persons on Kant's account. Dignity is not only a worth but a status or standing, a position in the moral community.
The standing is that of an equal, for rational beings have the same dignity. But it is also a standing or position from which claims or demands can be made. Persons are just those beings who have the standing of authority to address demands to one another as persons.
Moral recognition respect for the dignity of persons is acknowledging this authority; we respect one another as persons when we hold each other mutually accountable for complying with the demands that we acknowledge each person has the authority to make of each other person as free and rational agents.
For example, Kant argues that we have duties of love to others just as we have duties of respect. However, neither the love nor the respect we owe is a matter of feeling or, is pathological, as Kant saysbut is, rather, a duty to adopt a certain kind of maxim, or policy of action: Love and respect, in Kant's view, are intimately united in friendship; nevertheless, they seem to be in tension with one another and respect seems to be the morally more important of the two, in that the duties of respect are stricter and respect constrains and limits love within friendship.
Critics object to what they see here as Kant's devaluing of emotions, maintaining that emotions are morally significant dimensions of persons both as subjects and as objects of both respect and love.
In response, some philosophers contend that respect and love are more similar and closely connected in Kant's theory than is generally recognized VellemanBaronR. Others have developed accounts of respect that is or incorporates a form of love agape or care Dillon a, Downie and TelferMaclagan and some have argued that emotions are included among the bases of dignity and that a complex emotional repertoire is necessary for Kantian respect WoodSherman a, Farley In a related vein, some philosophers maintain that it is possible to acknowledge that another being is a person, i.
What is required for respecting a person is not simply recognizing what they are but emotionally experiencing their value as a person Thomas a, BussDillon Another source of dissatisfaction with Kant's account has been with his characterization of persons and the quality in virtue of which they must be respected. In particular, Kant's view that the rational will which is common to all persons is the ground of respect is thought to ignore the moral importance of the concrete particularity of each individual, and his emphasis on autonomy, which is often understood to involve the independence of one person from all others, is thought to ignore the essential relationality of human beings for example, NoggleFarleyDillon a, E.