AuthorSmith, Rhonda Darlene
AdvisorSchmidtz, David J.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn the last several years, a growing number of philosophers, including Thomas Hill, Jean Hampton, Neera Badhwar, and Robin Dillon, have turned their attention to the issue of self-respect. While several authors have identified a number of behaviors that are incompatible with self-respect, few have attempted an extended analysis of self-respect. Moreover, comparatively little attention has been focused on the moral importance of self-respect. In my dissertation, I build on the work of these and other philosophers. I begin by developing an analysis of self-respect. I argue that there are at least three distinct components of self-respect; specifically, a self-respecting person is true to herself, respects her interests and respects her judgment. I argue that no single component is sufficient for self-respect; for instance, a person who respects her judgment may yet fail to respect her interests. Similarly, a person who is true to herself does not necessarily fully respect either her interests or her judgment. In the remainder of my dissertation, I demonstrate why self-respect is so important for moral philosophy. Specifically, I focus on the moral issues that arise when a person who lacks self-respect interacts with others. I argue that a lack of self-respect may morally corrupt both the individual who lacks self-respect and those with whom she interacts. The danger of significant moral corruption is intensified in intimate relationships. Moreover, such corruption is not always confined to the relationship in which it was initially fostered. Exploitation is among the vices that thrive when individuals lack self-respect. In the final chapter, I demonstrate the relevance of self-respect to analyses of exploitation. For instance, Robert Goodin has argued that exploitation is impossible where all parties to a relationship have an equal stake in the relationship; this means that each party has as much to lose as any other should the relationship be terminated. I argue that persons who lack self-respect are vulnerable to exploitation even when they wield equal power in their relationships with others. That is, self-respect has an independent effect on a person's vulnerability to exploitation; a deficiency of self-respect is sufficient to render a person exploitable.
Degree ProgramGraduate College