Philosophy Cafe: Respect


This month, in association with the Tamar Valley Peace Festival, we are considering philosophical dimensions of the theme of the festival: respect.

Start Date

7th Aug 2018 6:00pm

End Date

7th Aug 2018 7:30pm


Royal Oak Hotel, Launceston

RSVP / Contact Information

Enquiries: Graham Wood, 6324 3920 or


Let us think about how the word respect is (or may be) used… (whether or not we endorse the usage)

We respect nature
We respect a rough sea
We respect a shark
We respect the fact that some chemicals are harmful
We respect the person pointing a gun at us
We respect the right to freedom of speech
We respect a doctor
We respect a police officer
We respect a volunteer firefighter
We respect a stranger
We respect our enemy  
We respect our friend
We respect another person’s decision
We respect an election result
We respect the law
We respect ourselves
We respect all people
We respect all living things

What do the different ways that the word respect might be used tell us about the meaning of the word?
Are there any objects, entities, or states of affairs that just don’t need respect, no matter what?
Are there different types of respect? 

What does respecting yourself mean?
What does respecting others mean?

Should everyone be respected?
Or does this make the notion effectively meaningless?
If not everyone should be respected, what are the attributes of a person that prompt respect?
Social Standing?
But in what sense, if any, should people who lack any of these be respected?
What role, if any, does ‘human dignity’ play in attitudes of respect?
Are there some types of respect that are ‘bad’ and should not be afforded to other people, and if so why?

How does the idea of respect relate to ethics more broadly?
Consequentialist ethics (Utilitarianism): “maximise utility”
Kant’s deontological ethics: always treat a person (including yourself) as an end, and never only as a means.
Virtue ethics (Aristotle): cultivate the virtues avoid the vices.

Philosophy Café
On the first Tuesday of each month (excluding January and February)
Royal Oak Hotel – Launceston