What is respect?
December 19, 2011 5:09 PM Subscribe
Respect describes a particular attitude toward another person, and not a feeling as such. It's still often used as a modifier for an emotion, though, since attitudes can modify anything a person does. This makes it even harder to observe than emotions are. So, what is
respect? What does it mean to respect someone, if I'm trying to ignore how I feel about them?
posted by LogicalDash to Religion & Philosophy (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This question is inspired by some of the discussion around the Kim Jong Il obit thread, but isn't really about it.
I am aware of two common meanings for "respect," the less common being loosely synonymous with "consideration": when you give directions, for instance, you might tell someone to go north with respect to a highway and not the Earth's rotation. This can be applied to people as well, and here it overlaps with the other meaning somewhat. When you make plans with respect to another person, it means you're taking their needs into account while making your plans, and at least trying to avoid getting in their way.
The more common meaning is the one I find problematic. It's something close to "esteem" but not quite. It assumes not just that you're taking someone's needs into account, but that you're doing so because you agree with those needs in some sense. Perhaps a moral sense, you could say? You think they are worthy and appropriate needs.
Both kinds of respect can be given to someone you hate, but they work in the opposite direction from hatred, so it's difficult to respect a hated enemy very much without suffering cognitive dissonance.
Perhaps you have a better explanation.