1 Introduction

There is a poor fit between the liberal view of recognition respect as mutual accountability and the moral goal of respecting people with severe and profound intellectual disabilities. Can a conception of recognition respect be uncovered that could guide engagements with those among us who live non-rational lives? If so, might the same view also be applicable to all of us, pointing to a better overall way of thinking about respect? To answer these questions, we need to step back and get a broader view about what makes respect valuable for the respected. We need a broad normative account of respect, rather than a thin and meta-ethical account that gets its normative content entirely from shifting conceptions of dignity and personhood. In order to resonate with ordinary views and in order to be distinct from other normative theories—namely that of care, I argue that respect should be thought of as a relation that succeeds in supporting and advancing the respected's social power (their "normative power"), and I call my conception Empowerment Respect. On my account, there are three contributors to someone's normative power that the respecter responds to: the dimension of reputation (which I call "crediting"), the dimension of role (which I call "reckoning"), and the dimension of moral authority (which I call "advocating"). Each of these is relevant to the lives of people with severe or profound intellectual disabilities. This should lead us to think that justice for people with such disabilities involves making an effort to put ourselves into various circumstances of empowerment respect with them, regardless of the absence of mutual accountability.

2 Why Respect-as-Mutual Accountability is Unsatisfactory

Usually when writers discuss conceptions of recognition respect, their real focus is on moral personhood. Largely due to the writings of Stephen Darwall, it has become widely accepted that second personal respect is and ought to be the liberal conception of recognition respect (for persons). According to Darwall (2013: 28), second personal respect supplanted the hierarchical and often dishonest form of recognition respect (for persons) that he calls "honor respect." The two kinds of recognition respect, he argues, operate with completely different ideas of personhood. Honor respect's "person" is the mask, the rank, the role, while second-personal respect's "person" is the being with unalienable dignity. While one honor respects another "by recognizing or honoring him as having some specific role, status, or place that, in principle, not everyone can have," the respect we give to each other as moral equals is given chiefly through the mutual accountability that accompanies our actions concerning one another (2013: 14-16).

Those excluded from opportunities and political power have used second-personal-respect language to demand justice for themselves. This familiar language of accountability resonates with the Kantian logic of self-constitution. If one has enough self-awareness to see oneself in a contractual relation with others, then one ipso-facto meets the threshold for autonomy and moral personhood. Moral symmetry is possible between oneself and those others who are answerable. This is, by definition, a wide view of personhood and dignity—anyone who can take responsibility becomes a peer, an equal, and a second-self in a liberal society of equals.

Respect-as-mutual-accountability can include people who until recently had been institutionalized and held to be incompetent—people who are often now classified as having mild and moderate intellectual disabilities. Having found the power to raise their own voices and demand accountability from society, members of these groups have proved that they are worthy subjects of second personal respect. This can be seen, for example, in the pronouncements of Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE), an advocacy group led by and for people with intellectual disabilities. As Alison Carey documented in On the Margins of Citizenship, SABE activists made sure to use direct address to those whose views they found oppressive: "We have told you what is important to us"… and "If you are working with me and for me then do not disrespect me" – "We have the right to make our own decisions….WE CAN RUN OUR OWN LIVES" (Carey 2009: 187). 1 Similarly, in a study of the perceptions of respect by people with intellectual disabilities as related to the context of participation in research, Katharine McDonald documents statements such as "look us in the eye," or "respect us or we won't respect you," suggesting the importance of experiences of mutuality and the equation of those experiences with respect (McDonald 2012). There may be reason to take pride in and guard this liberal ideal of respect when we see it reverberating through self-advocacy rhetoric, suggesting that anyone who can stand up for themselves has, by that very act, proven capable of enough autonomy to be counted among those owed second-personal respect. And yet this strategy may have ethically costly limits. Alison Carey spells out the concerns:

…By reinterpreting notions of competence and autonomy to allow for the provision of support and guidance, the self-advocacy movement defines many previously excluded people as good citizens and rights bearers. Moreover, it encourages people to see themselves and to act as rights-bearing citizens. However, the assumption that all people are competent and autonomous and can participate in self-determination, even given supports, seems questionable. The rhetoric of this movement seems to assume away the existence of people who cannot determine or express their best interests. To the extent that some people cannot self-advocate, what is their role in society? (Carey 2009: 223).

Political theorist Stacey Clifford Simplican expands on this concern, seeing those who are severely and profoundly intellectually disabled as people who are deprived of all legitimacy, since they cannot give evidence of or make claims about their cognitive competence. "In order to launch the argument that they deserve political standing, self-advocates are forced to make claims about their own cognitive competence, hence undermining their political message that all people with ID are political actors worth listening to" (2015:17). Simplican worries about the tradeoffs of choosing to live under what she has aptly called a "capacity contract," where membership is contingent on proof of cognitive capacity, needlessly excluding the non-rational members of their community and forgoing a potentially richer idea of the political itself. Can people with severe and profound intellectual disabilities (PSPID) ever attain the political belonging that is arguably a prerequisite for moral belonging, when the passport for being owed accountability rests on the very thing they lack: minimal rational capacity with the capacity for moral agency? There are broader implications in the persistent reduction of liberal respect to a relation that relies on the policing of a cognitive boundary. 2 Any of us may become more disabled than we are, or we may be misidentified, reclassified, or otherwise subjected to a controlling image that determines whether or not we can claim personhood. Liberalism has advanced a vanishingly close relationship between this goal of political standing, the value of respect, and the concept of the person. Must we continue to accept this liberal ideal of second-personal recognition respect over other options, when it is inapplicable and irrelevant to our relations with the non-rational people in our lives?

It is important to figure out how an understanding of respect can inform rather than just adorn and mirror liberal morality. At least partly an exercise in conceptual ethics, the concern here is with how well our accepted conception of recognition respect serves us. 3 What does it allow us to see more clearly? What does it encourage us to do? How does it fit with and complement other important moral and political concepts? We know that being in relations of liberal second-personal recognition respect involves a mutuality that can provide those who respect each other with potent protection from abuse, and expanded chances to foster trust and cooperation on the basis of the most minimal shared values. The more relations of mutual accountability one is in, the more intricately one is protected by political and moral symmetry. Like others with an interest in relations of respect, people lacking the capacity for accountability might still need and want respect for such reasons of security and freedom. Yet, it seems precisely to be the second-personal conception of recognition respect that makes sense out of the idea that true freedom requires moral equality. When people show that they have the capacity to make their own rational-enough choices and to take responsibility for their missteps and mistakes, they show that they deserve (and can handle) moral deference and the so-called space to pursue their aims without interference. Freedom is thereby linked with independence, and at the same time with risk. 4 On what grounds, though, would freedom to take risks and be exposed to possible ridicule be granted to a person who cannot give an account of themselves and thus prove their authority over their own life? How could a caregiver or advocate permit the exposure and vulnerability that comes from a freedom that is equated with distance from possible care? Weighing these matters, one might conclude that this is just why respect is not a relation suitable for PSPID. Our non-rational fellows, one might conclude, must rely solely on relations of care.

As Darwall puts it in Welfare and Rational Care,

Reasons for acting that are rooted in respect are both agent-regarding and agent-relative. First, respect for persons is a responsiveness to what makes them persons, the capacity for free agency. What we must attend to here is not, primarily anyway, what is for someone's good, but what she holds good and would want from her point of view…. Reasons of care, on the other hand, are welfare-regarding and agent-neutral. From the perspective of "one caring," the cared for's values are regulative only insofar as they are represented in his welfare or good (2002:14).

This approach—where care attends to what is objectively for someone's own good, and can be given to a wide array of entities, while respect attends to the point of view a rational person takes in the pursuit of their goals, and is only appropriate for moral persons—might seem like a reasonable concession to brute reality. However, this way of contrasting respect and care is based on an unrealistic division of moral labor, one that, for instance, fails to see how much individual agency (on the part of the cared-for) is required for effective care. It is not helpful to understand these two fundamental political concepts through their opposition as Kant seems to have done: to say that respect is needed to keep us apart while love or beneficence (i.e., care) is needed to bring us together (Kant 1996: 213-214). 5 This alluring dichotomy makes it easy to see some subjects as only needing care, and to see them that way at their peril, for at the same time, all the others, it is supposed, should feel humiliated to be mistaken for the radically dependent.

One example that suggests how futile such a division would be is found in a striking moment recalled by Eva Kittay. In various places, where Eva Kittay writes of her daughter Sesha, she recounts an incident relating not to the quality of physical care given to Sesha, but to the respectfulness of that care. The director of the center where Sesha Kittay lives was appalled when Sesha was "wheeled into the hallway of her residence after her bath wrapped only in a towel" (Kittay 2019: 22). The director took the oversight as an affront to Sesha's dignity in a way that we might interpret also in terms of disrespect. The reason she gave for finding the action so disrespectful was in part the history of the treatment of people with intellectual disabilities and mental illness that she herself had witnessed, when "she saw naked men marched into the washrooms where they were washed down with water hoses." This treatment of Sesha was both a chilling reminder and a potential gateway to the "indignities can befall people with mental disabilities" (Kittay 2019: 22). If Eva Kittay is right, that good care must be respectful, then we should not be satisfied until we have some clearer idea of what a respectful act is meant to do. Sesha might not have been cold or uncomfortable physically, but those involved knew it was important for Sesha that she be treated with dignity (i.e., respected) by being covered up in public in a way consistent with the norms of public appearance. It is relevant that the failure to cover Sesha up would not have harmed her by offending her or making her feel humiliated, nor would the routine act of dressing her after her bath necessarily give her emotional satisfaction related to her standing or status with others. It is doubtful that a second-personal conception of respect could have guided the judgment of the caretaker. So, how could this way of relating to Sesha count as (and be good because it was) respecting her? We can think of different reasons why it might have been a good idea to cover Sesha, for example, to keep her family or others present from feeling uncomfortable, or to maintain some general standard of equal treatment for all patients in order to avoid upsetting a patient who might happen to be aware of the significance of nudity, but in what sense is this action also guided by or explained by a standard of respect related to Sesha's own good?

I believe we should look for a conception of respect that converges with the value of care to offer ways to view the moral importance of our relationships. We drench the world in our attention and have a need—even if we cannot articulate it—to get others to pay attention to what matters to us. A care-giver is often the first person in our lives to do this for us, but it is through many small acts of respect that we get to securely inhabit a world that is partly one of our making. We need an account of the respect relation that does not require that both parties know they are in a relation of respect. While in our moral discourse we prioritize second-personal respect—and relations meant to dignify human beings on a universal basis—we live our lives with a great interest and reliance on all sorts of other kinds of respect—respect rooted in and dependent upon ranking judgments, respect directed at objects, animals, artworks, and non-sentient parts of nature. Our everyday language reflects the many extended and metaphorical senses of respect, and yet we don't say much about why this language is so compelling to us, and how there might be a kind of relation that is valuable in itself—giving us some kind of normative guidance, buried underneath all these varied notions and bits of rhetoric. The insightful work done to distinguish different senses of respect, has almost always been in pursuit of that so-called sense of respect implied in our liberal moral discourse. Presupposed in that effort is the logical or ontological status of the moral object of that discourse—the person. What is overlooked is that there are many kinds of dignifying relations with entities, and there might be something about those relations that underwrites the moral force we often associate with respect. Could an effort to think of respect's importance independently from the importance of moral equality be helpful when it comes to understanding the importance of respecting PSPID? 6

3 Shifting the Focus of Respect from Personhood-Recognition to Empowerment

I will develop my conception of Empowerment Respect by rethinking the way recognition respect works and arguing for a thicker concept that is independent from the normative ideal of moral personhood. So, I turn now from criticisms of Darwall's liberal ideal of respect as mutual accountability (second-personal respect) to the meta-ethical concept that purportedly grounds that ideal—the concept of recognition respect. The meta-ethical and thin account given for recognition respect is the root of the problem that troubles me—a problem to which liberal recognition respect mistakenly seems to be an adequate answer.

3.1 Recognition Respect revisited

Most of us would like to be the object of respectful treatment. We would like to be treated with respect in the various contexts in which we find ourselves. Being respectfully treated is assumed to be a prima facie good thing for the one respected. Why? If one looks at Darwall's account of recognition respect, the answer is hardly hinted at.

According to Darwall giving recognition respect "consists in giving appropriate consideration or recognition to some feature of its object in deliberating about what to do" (1977:38). Here we have a way of describing a kind of practical reasoning that involves concerning oneself with an object, and is chiefly considered an attitude of intending to act in the appropriate way, where the treatment of some entity is involved. To be the object of recognition respect is to be on the receiving end of a treatment. The respected is in some way affected (or likely to be affected) by the deliberate actions of another. But what is that effect on the object that, together with the intentions of the respecter, makes the action respectful? This is what writers don't often talk about. Instead, the focus is usually on who deserves this mysterious treatment and what grounds our duty to give it. 7

Moral Recognition Respect normally gets worked out like this: First we identify that some entity warrants moral standing. Then we say inter alia they warrant respect. We treat it as an analytic truth that the right way to treat morally important beings is to respect them. Then, by looking at the facts or features that give them that warrant to moral standing, we derive what are thought to be the limits on how we can treat them. We must treat them the right way concerning their morally important features. Anything less is disrespectful. So, treating someone morally correctly is respecting them and respecting them is treating them morally correctly. We acknowledge, however, that in times past, respect—the so-called right way to treat someone of value—did not necessarily have moral value at its center. And, since making norms about the correct way to treat people should always have moral standards as the bottom line, we confidently eschew this earlier way of engaging in relations of respect. Darwall calls it "honor" respect. This is replaced by second-personal respect, whose conceptual core is the value and practice of mutual accountability. Whatever else we do concerning each other, we should register each other as a direct source of claims on us. How do we know one deserves this status? Their capacity to be accountable to us in turn.

Most of us have the ardent desire to be treated respectfully in subtle and intricate ways that exceed what is required to register our moral personhood. We want the importance not only of our moral nature, but of our efforts, our abilities, our roles, our relationships, our charming quirks, to be reflected in the way others act concerning us. We experience justifiable resentment and offense when people or institutions fail us in this regard. Yet, it would seem to be the reactive emotions that signal that we are the kinds of beings that others ought to be concerned about respecting. Instead of asking ourselves what the respectful treatment delivers, such that we want it in all these different ways, we point to our sense of offense, connect it to the grounds of our self-respect, and assume, again, that respect as a valuable treatment, must track back to moral personhood. This is as if to say, "I need to know that those in my community care about preserving my sense of self-worth without which I would lack the will to enter into relations of mutual accountability." 8 If the good and the value of getting respected is reduced to and equated with the good and the value of being treated as a moral equal, then considerations about respect will always merely duplicate moral considerations. For those on the margins of moral personhood, as we've seen, this is not necessarily good news.

3.2 The Objects and Concerns of so-called Respect

What does respect aim to do for the respected? Maybe answering this question will shift us from what I think is presently too tight a link between respect as a value and the value of liberal personhood. This begins with trying to avoid conflations in how we talk about objects of respect (Dillon: 2018). 9 Consider the following statement:

You should respect the fact that Donna gets angry when she's tired, by phoning her only before four p.m.

When we respect-the-fact-that Donna gets angry when she's tired, the object of respect is nothing but a fact that we are having to deal with. But rather than dismissing such a statement as irrelevant to our purposes, let's consider the clues it might offer. Colin Bird has argued that to be a possible object of respect, one must pass the reckoning test (Bird 2004:216ff). Setting aside the question of whether whole unique individuals are reckonable as such, I just want to ask why it might be of value to be something that must be reckoned with? One answer might be that there is a difference between being (treated as) something that can be dealt with in any old way (scrub it out, eliminate it, ignore it) and to be something that is inexorable in its way and so requires much more careful attention and calculation in order to be dealt with. To be something to reckon with is to have a certain kind of power. It appeals to us to have the power to influence other people's choices, if not by our own will, at least by or due to facts and features that belong to us.

But, to be treated with respect—to be the object of respectful action—is not just to be the source of some fact that must be reckoned with if the so-called respecter is to achieve their goals. Notice how it is not Donna herself, but a certain characteristic she exhibits, that is getting the attention. Donna is the source of the anger that might inconvenience the person who would phone her. Respecting the "anger" fact about Donna does not seem to be a necessarily good thing for Donna. To make this clearer let's try a different statement:

Respect the lion's great skill for surprise attack, by bringing not only a whip but also a gun into the cage. 10

There is probably a reason we normally specify the fact or a feature as the object of respect in these sentences, rather than the entity in possession of those characteristics, and if we want to get to the bottom of why respect matters to the sentient beings who get it, we want to be as clear as possible about the focus of the alleged respecter's deliberation. The lion is not necessarily being given respectful treatment when we respect its sharp teeth or its power to attack us, by carrying a whip or a gun into the cage.

The point, with these examples is not to say simply that so-called respect means something entirely different when applied to a fact or feature as when applied to a sentient being or whole entity. There's also a pattern worth thinking about, which might help us arrive at a notion of the general aim of respectful action. With all the non-entities that we talk about respecting (facts, features, symbols), we can see a pattern. Our actions do something with regard to those sharp teeth—our attention to the sharp teeth, and our effort to connect that attention to our own projects is how facts about sharp teeth become a source of human norms. The whip that the tamer brings into the cage communicates not only the lion tamer's appreciation of a fact that is relevant to their own survival, but it conveys the power of that fact or feature to shape the way a practice is done. The same can be said of a variety of the so-called senses of recognition respect—whether obstacle respect (respect the power of the storm by staying home), or care respect (respect the infant's need for sleep, by being quiet), or directive respect (respect the speed limit by driving 50). For example, the mere act of following directions opens us to a sense of respect because the very action of following them confers on them certain authority "as" directions, and that gives rise to a certain status, a certain social power to be the source of norms is generated for what had before been merely some words on a sign, or some lines on a road.

But it is not enough to say that someone has been treated respectfully just in case they have given people a reason to constrain their actions concerning them—and in that way have become a source for human norms. A respectful act does more than make the respected influential. The act of respect must support a certain kind of influence, the influence that comes from something's being intrinsically valuable. 11 Joseph Raz (2005 & 2009) has argued that values are the basic focus of respect and has claimed that the possibility of engaging and disclosing values usually depends on there being sustained social practices. I want to gesture in the direction of his approach, which seeks a way out of the problem of making respect tautological to a view of moral duty. What might a conception of respect looks like, when it is seen as a relation aimed at supporting the respected's power not just to constrain action, but to confer value? 12

3.3 How Respect Relates to the Agency and Integrity of the Respected

A speed limit, a need for sleep, a power to wreck a boat has no agency of its own, and it is only by analogy that we think of what we are doing as if it is for the "respected's" sake. The lion's being known as an animal to reckon with is only desirable for the lion if that authority in some way enhances and improves what it is like to be the lion. It is not enough that the lion gets to occupy a place of value if that value is consecrated through activities that project an identity onto the lion that has nothing to do with the lion's own interests. So perhaps the kind of respect that it is good to get is whatever makes it valuable for the lion to be recognized "as" a lion.

If being respected requires that one is given an influence that is for one's own advantage, must the respecter then think of the respected as intrinsically valuable and worthy of such promotion? Would such a view fit with our sense of what is going on when we are getting respected? Let's consider the connection of respecting someone to valuing them. One thing that the appraisal-recognition distinction makes clear that acting respectfully toward someone is independent from finding them personally valuable (Darwall 1977). Yet, when it comes to why we desire to be respected, it seems like respect that is merely behavioral is not as valuable to us as respect that is motivated in part by respecter's positive beliefs about us. If we want to know what respectfulness distinctly does for the respected, don't we need to disambiguate between this psychological benefit (from evidence that one is appreciated) and a more objective benefit? For their part, theories of care have no trouble with their version of this ambiguity. It is clear that we want others to meet our basic physical and emotional needs when we cannot meet them ourselves—regardless of whether those caregivers feel like we deserve to have our needs met. It is also clear that we want to be in caring relations with people—we want relationships characterized by the other's affirmation not only that they have reasons to help meet our needs, but that one of their reasons is their belief that we are intrinsically deserving of their attention and concern. The way of seeing required to understand and meet needs in another is itself the product of genuinely concerned attention—attention that can only be explained in terms of caring about someone's whole integrity (not just this or that feature of them). It follows that a theory of care must focus not just on behaviors that tend to result in the wellbeing of the one cared for, but on the ways of seeing and attitudes that generate these practices of care. As a result of these two features—the value we place on being cared about and the work that such attention does to reveal how to meet needs and wants—relations of care are thought to depend upon and require seeing the cared-for as intrinsically valuable in a way that calls for the effort of care.

Yet, it seems mistaken to pivot from an idea of respect as appropriate recognition of moral equality to respect as a relation devoted to another's health and wellbeing, encompassing an individual's unique needs and everything that might make her life go well. Nor does the feeling of engrossment with the other seem to be an essential component of what we normally think about when we think about wanting to give and receive respect. 13 While I strongly believe we should reject the way care and respect are usually dichotomized, it behooves us not to completely collapse the two together. Getting cared for contributes to our flourishing through relations of trust that allow us successfully to take up another's effort to meet our needs and wants. In parallel terms we want to say how—by what means and in what domain—respecting someone contributes to their flourishing. Doing so might give us a conception of respect we can work with.

Consider Kittay's account of care as a success term. Care in the normative sense requires that certain conditions are met. There must be:

(1) Needs or wants of those cared for that require attention. (2) A carer who has the requisite competencies called for in this situation. (3) The individual (person or thing) cared for should be better off than before by some specifiable criteria (2019:190).

For care to have occurred, the cared for must be made better off. A caring relation, as such, might be distinguished from other relations in terms of how (by what tools and ways of interrelating) the cared-for is made better off, rather than in what aspect of their life they are made better off (body, mind, profession, political standing). Or perhaps it is also the specific areas of life that are improved as a result of the caring relation that in part define it as a caring relation. Similarly, in trying to understand what is required for "respect" to take place, it makes sense at least to start by treating respect as some kind of achievement concept. This means limiting what counts as relation of respect on the basis of the relation's consequences for the respected entity (setting aside whether the virtue of being a respectful person might be somewhat independent of consequences). What I am chiefly interested in is not what kind of respect everyone has a right to, or what type of respect can be given to every member of a category. Rather, I am looking to answer the question: What conception of respect-as-treatment fits best with the intuition that being on the receiving end of a relation of respect is something everyone has a reason to want for themselves?

3.4 Respect as a Response to the Social Instability of Dignity

Let's assume that respect is a relation between respecter and respected where there must, like care, be some positive result for the respected. A relation of respect requires, to some extent, that the way the respected is treated is effective for them—but effective treatment on what axis?

One answer is suggested by the frequent link between respect and dignity. But whereas we commonly think our demands for respect are (and ought to be) focused on inalienable dignity, I think that the opposite is true. Roughly speaking, it seems that the respect relations we seek are those that operate in and on the fragile domain of standing and status. Without doubt, Sesha's caregiver believes in Sesha's bedrock moral importance (her inalienable dignity) but the caregiver is also determined to preserve the much more fragile material and social expression of this importance. The respecter, as such, is at least someone who works to uphold this alienable dignity. This is why it makes sense to say that Sesha's caregiver seems to have been acting from reasons of respect, rather than only reasons of care, in insisting on keeping Sesha clothed.

Corresponding to a concern with the way standing and status for someone can be easily shaken, respectful seeing involves looking for and recognizing that certain kinds of standing and status would be a good thing for someone-such-as-they-are to take up, and a desire to contribute to that outcome. It is in seeing the valuable integrity of the possible object of respect that the respecter normally would be able to form a concern for the status and standing of the respected. The respecter sees the object of respect, in its integrity, as the source of the values that are or would be disclosed by their position. The respecter responds to a situation in which they can support or contribute to this valuable integrity, or they recognize and avoid actions that would disrupt what is making the integrity valuable. So, a respecter of the lion sees the lion as one that is able to have valuable engagements that do not threaten the lion's physical integrity, under the right formal and social circumstances. For example, if they are put on an endangered species list, or if their appearance in captivity constrained by norms that encourage the preservation of lion-friendly habitats. It may be respectful to treat the lion "as" an endangered species, while it might be disrespectful to threat the lion as the star of the greatest show on earth.

The concept we want to explore is of the kind of respect that aims to empower the respected entity. This "respect" can be partly understood as a relation in which a respecter deliberately acts in ways that make the respected's social legibility more valuable for them. 14 Yet, as many have argued, respect shouldn't be reduced to static ideas of granting good-making status. If respect is about how we make each other readable and recognizable in the social space of value-disclosing practices, it is just as much about how we make and remake our practices so that they disclose our intrinsic value to one another. I'll call this broad normative kind of respect Empowerment Respect.

4 Empowerment Respect

We have moved from some critical thoughts about the thin concept of recognition respect, to the beginnings of an account called "empowerment respect" (EMPR). This section will develop EMPR in more detail.

4.1 The Focus on Social Legibility Distinguishes EMPR as a Normative Concept

The contingent statuses and roles that grant individuals access to forms of participation are not, and can never be, static. A once desirable title or social position can become tainted and a once discredited identity can become a lever for new powers. In a given social context, some ways of placing each other come to seem more conducive to personal flourishing, and so more desirable from the respected-individual's point of view. In this way, being respectful of another (EMPR) is inseparable from considering how one's status-creating action contributes to their flourishing. But, unlike care, the empowerment-respecter's sphere of influence is not the immediate mobility, joy, and trust, of the individual, but rather, the levers of her reputation, status, and role. We might say we are in circumstances of respect with someone if there is something we can do to support her personally beneficial social legibility.

Noddings (1984) and others have argued that care is completed by the cared for—it is completed in their successful uptake of a well-directed caring act, in the real improvement of wellbeing or at least in the deepened trust that someone experiences when they enjoy being cared for. Respect may be less straight forward, but we can think of it as being completed in the other's successful uptake of our effort to secure their positive social legibility in a certain context. Uptake is successful when the respected actually uses their received identity, roles, statuses, and so on, to be involved in practices that they have reason to value. Ultimately, this means, at least sometimes, to be centered as an agent (not necessarily a rational agent) whose experience of the values of that practice is part of what makes the practice valuable, full stop. To be sometimes centered in this way is to have what I call normative power. Given all this, here is a formulation of EMPR:

EMPR occurs when an agent (the respecter) deliberately strengthens the positive social legibility of an entity (the respected), contributing to the entity's enjoyment of normative power.

There is a connection between being able to be valuable and being able to engage with values in self-affirming ways. Respect aims at normative power—not (only) at "having" what confers value (the traits, etc.) but having the power to confer value, which also means to play a part in creating and changing values. A respected person, as such, and in the domain in which they are shown respect, is granted a say in how the disclosure and conferral of value is determined. So, the success of an act of respect is in part measured by the respected's ability to enjoy influence. They disclose shared values in a way that is also fulfilling to them.

The account of EMPR needs to be able to distinguish between the merely symbolic granting of a status that might be empty and useless, and the good-making engagement with someone through the available mechanisms of reputation, role, and status. Let's say that when someone's roles, status, and reputation are working to help them flourish, they are empowered. 15 Empowerment means different things to different people—it means having social power, or having not just a status but the ability to make use of that status, and it often connotes feeling confident, appreciated, and affirmed. I will be giving it a more technical sense—but one that reflects this ordinary understanding. Someone is empowered if they are able to actualize some of their desires through socially valued and protected participation or through the "normative power" they wield (enjoy) in social practices. Wielding normative power does not require the cognitively demanding ability to understand the value-disclosing possibility of social practices; instead, it requires only that one participates in a practice in a way that is both personally valued and has an influence on what makes that activity socially valuable.

Let me imagine that my friend Amy is serving her first term as a state senator. To empowerment-respect Amy "as" a senator, I would want my actions concerning her to help her take up that particular role in a way that is worthwhile to herself and others. If engaging in the practice of politics (as a senator) is intertwined with Amy's ability to participate in other valued practices, then respecting Amy full stop might require that I do what I can to respect her "as" a senator. While being a senator requires certain cognitive capacities not available to PSPID, there are many other practices and roles that are open-ended in this regard. Perhaps Amy's severely intellectually disabled sister-in-law, Colleen, is trying out weaving. Colleen is becoming someone who can be seen as a weaver, and both Amy and I can respect Colleen by doing things that help make her engagement with weaving legible and relevant to others. Our goal as respecters would be to make sure that our actions concerning Colleen help maintain the status she needs for worthwhile engagement in the activity of weaving. If we succeed in our EMPR relation with Colleen, then her legibility as a weaver is more likely to become a source of normative power for her, giving her influence and connection with others in that domain and beyond.

Sociologists who have paid attention to the intricacies of how roles work, stress the need to take these considerations seriously. EMPR is a conception of respect that resonates with their concerns. Discussing "social role valorization," Thomas and Wolfensberger observe,

people who hold valued roles in society are more apt than people in devalued roles to be accorded "the good things of life" by their society. Consequently, if people who are devalued by their society, or who are at risk of being devalued, are to be given the good things of life, then they should be helped to as much as possible fill roles that are highly valued in society. Otherwise, they will probably be very badly treated… (1999: 126)

No acts of respect can by themselves produce or guarantee empowerment—the full enjoyment of normative power in a given context. Empowerment involves a complex play of forces and many different agents. However, the point of EMPR is to be part of a relation that contributes to empowerment. We all come forward as individuals who can only be recognized through various available forms of identity and visibility. An empowered individual experiences a relatively positive and productive confluence between the way she is and wants to be, and how she is labeled and identified by others. We all play roles in order to engage with the things that matter to us. An empowered person is (and in some way expects to be) cooperated with in the potentially valuable roles she plays. We all are vulnerable to changing circumstances and practices. They expect to have their needs advocated for and their story told when these circumstances arise. Acts of EMPR are discreet, more or less deliberate acts where a respecter successfully uses the institutional mechanisms, norms, and public deliberation at her disposal to advance the social power of the one she is respecting.

4.2 Contexts of EMPR and Moments of Empowerment

In this process of being and becoming empowered there are three connected but distinct stages where the potential respecter can positively influence the social power of the respected: I call these three moments Crediting, Reckoning, and Advocating.

4.2.1 Crediting

One part of being empowered is the reputational dimension of having credit in one's community, and the opposite of this is to be discredited or stigmatized. This is the "moment" of EMPR that looks a lot like so-called appraisal respect, where naming often implies comparative and ranking judgment. But in this case it is the act of calling someone by a name, rather than the process of arriving at a reason to so name them, that concerns us. We act respectfully concerning each other when we publicly recognize what are believed to be positively worthwhile facts and features about them, or acknowledge dimensions of their identity that correspond to an identity that they have a reason to want. When describing someone or identifying them, we do so on the basis of facts or features about them that are considered valuable from various practical points of view. We may appraise them relative to others, or we may simply identify them as entitled to a certain status. We may, more complexly, make positive associations to their socially legible identity. Complimentary speech can be respectful, but that will depend upon the normative power that is ultimately advanced by the way of talking. For example, calling someone "special" or "pretty" or "articulate" might in fact be a way of talking about them that reduces the social power of aspects of their identity. For example, praising an African American presidential candidate for being "articulate" suggests such a trait is unusual in people "like him," thus re-stigmatizing an important social identity that he shares with others. On the other hand, calling a fellow union member "brother" or "sister" might be respectful because of the powerful connotations of trust and fidelity that these terms carry in that context. "Crediting" involves the way mechanisms of reputation and status allow us to appreciate an entity's potential for disclosing values in practical contexts. So the credited entity is seen as a potentially good-making role-player in some specific practical context. Take, for example, the fact that some people with intellectual disability display "stereotyped behavior"—repetitious and interruptive actions during certain situations, such as eating. Those who notice the behavior can interpret (and describe) it in different ways, such as discrediting it as compulsive or self-destructive, or crediting it as communicating resistance. When the behavior becomes a source of credit, rather than stigma, positive engagement on the basis of that credit-bearing behavior is more likely. Along these lines the Keiths maintain that speaking of a person with intellectual disabilities as a "developing individual" implies that their person is not static and deserves the credit due to anyone who can grow and change (2013: 15). Once one has such credit, rather than the stigma of being frozen in time (or frozen at a developmental age (Kittay, 2019: Chapter 9)), then other positive possibilities open up.

4.2.2 Reckoning

Reckoning is the centerpiece of empowerment, where one often plays the most direct role in supporting the respected's effective engagement in practices that they have a reason to value and in centering someone in the way that results in normative power. To be someone to reckon with—even combatively— is usually an improvement upon simply being someone credited with potentially valuable qualities, who still lacks any recognizable place in society. It means that one is recognized as having some intelligible role or standing in a space of norms, where how one is treated matters and can be prioritized, relative to some practical values.

It's important to note how dynamically "crediting" and "reckoning" depend on each other. The features and facts that we identify in others are very often noticed because of experiences of interacting with them in practices that call upon and bring about values. How those interactions go can make a great difference to whether the reputation one has is an empowering or a disempowering one. (For example, a group of children might play a game of catch with each other, only to discover that their dog is eager to fetch the balls that go astray. What started off as an informal and unplanned set of events might then become incorporated into a new game, where the dog now has the honorary role of "fetcher." Down the line, some breeds of dog are credited with being the kinds of animals that are fun to play fetch with, and this valued characteristic signals new invitations to interact, which might lead to new refinements in the role and standing a family dog has in the games of the children.) How practical interactions go—or rather, how well we see them going—depends on what values we think the practice needs to disclose—what we think the point of the practice is. When a person takes up social space, plays a role, has a status, they become a reckonable social force—they are participating in shared practices in ways that are legible to others. Not only is there a chance for the practice to advance things that they have a reason to care about, but there is also the chance for their own role to be interpreted and perceived in a positive or negative light. Every recognized position can be leveraged in some way. A person waiting tables does not simply conform to the norms of that practice, they also might approach the practice in some surprising way that turns out to change or add to what people value about it. That person who is waiting tables cannot either successfully conform to the standards of good service, nor can they shift the standards, without ongoing cooperation from others. That said, to reckon respectfully with the waiter might usually involve nothing more than going along with the norms associated with the role. To play one's part as the waited-on, to tip appropriately, and to refrain from confusing the staff might be all that EMPR demands.

But the respectful reckoner cannot rest assured that following norms will be respectful in each case. The question for the would-be respectful reckoner is how they can use their own skills, position, and the relations at their disposal to support the empowerment of the person they are reckoning with. Respectful cooperation treats the person in their role in a way that makes their occupying the role into a good thing both for the practice and for them. This involves negotiating and responding to practical expectations and norms that constitute a role, together with responding to the particularities of the individual who is trying to successfully play and interpret that role. Reckoning can take many forms, from acknowledging the legitimacy of a person's taking up of a role, to flexibly changing the manner in which one engages with someone in a role. For example, sociological research revealed that staff who want to respond respectfully to residents with severe intellectual disabilities face a dilemma, when it comes to being their partners in playing games. When staff try to initiate a game, they might be met with apparent indifference. One way to reckon with this apparently indifferent individual is to respond as if she had expressed the desire not to play. Another way to reckon with the resident in this context is to treat the disinterest as merely a "temporary resistance" and to go ahead and start the game, but to experiment with a way of playing that might capture more interest (Finlay, et al: 2008). Now, ordinarily we might think the first approach is sufficiently respectful. It plausibly interprets a show of lack of interest as a "no" and leaves it at that. However, it is the second approach, which finds playful ways to create partnership, that is more empowering. The more respectful way of relating, I am suggesting, is to consider how one's own participation makes the role of game-player enjoyable and effective from the perspective of the partner with intellectual disabilities. 16 When we reckon with people in terms of roles they can play, we make our treatment of them "as"… ("as" student, citizen, neighbor, friend, mother, engineer, painter, eater, dancer, or game-player) into a treatment that enhances and supports the worth of their taking up that role in the distinctive way that fits with the other parts of their life and experience.

Positive and valued traits might have been publicized through crediting respect, moving the individual away from stigmatization by identifying things about her that give her access to potentially valuable roles and even protected status relevant across different practical domains. But once she is granted the generally desirable status and once she starts to interact with others through potentially valuable roles, a lot depends on how her whole person is cooperated with. She, not her position, is the one who can be treated with or without respect. She animates and occupies the social mask. Respectfully reckoning with her in her effort to occupy a role is not always as simple as following the given norms associated with that role.

4.2.3 Advocating

Key to the process of being empowered is to be able to impress the importance of one's own perspective and desires upon one's fellows. One's needs and wants have to be put on the agenda, and shared practices have to be evaluated partly in terms of how they fail or succeed in supporting how those needs and wants are met. One respects at the level of "advocacy" not necessarily by being the advocate, but at least, more modestly, by listening to advocates and making a space for their concerns to become one's own. This dimension of EMPR does indeed presuppose mutual accountability, but the mutual accountability is put in the service of anyone who can enjoy normative power. Sometimes the one who demands accountability is the same as the one who needs better social legibility. Sometimes the one demanding the accountability is doing so on behalf of such a one. In any case, capacities for responsibility and capacities for recognition of moral equality are far from required.

There are more and less effective ways to advocate for someone and represent their interests to the wider world, and more and less effective ways to hear and respond to advocacy. This will depend on the facts on the ground. The respectful advocate is the one who raises awareness and minimizes vulnerability at the same time. There have been forms of advocacy, for example, that trade on pity and exacerbate the undercurrent of fear that so-called normal people have about those who are so much worse off than them. One need only read Ben Mattlin's account of being a "poster-child" for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in order to realize that advocacy can be demeaning for the individual who is treated as a cause, or as a problem in need of a cure (Mattlin 2012: 20ff). A more complicated example of advocacy that falls short of EMPR is the political tug-of-war between rights-focused and care-focused advocates for PSPID. During these political battles over resources and community, it seems that partial visions of complicated lives were emphasized in order to either advance the movement for or against deinstitutionalization. The stories told to represent the interests of PSPID might make unwarranted assumptions about the desire for conventional forms of independence, or, alternatively, might overlook evidence of heartfelt social interests in favor of securing medical and financial safety (Carey 2009:165-171).

An advocate for someone with severe or profound intellectual disabilities creates a voice and sometimes a narrative, telling stories for and about people who cannot conventionally speak up for themselves. Sometimes the most respectful story that can be told is to admit that one does not know what it is really like for the person with profound intellectual disability. In cases where the disabilities are less severe and verbal communication is available, self-told and collaboratively-told life stories are essential tools for and products of respect. Jamie Berube's account, with his father's help, of his childhood and early adulthood in Life as Jamie Knows It (2016), and Ed Murphy's and Pattie Burt's life histories of institutionalization for "mental retardation" and subsequent experiences of independent living, carefully elicited through interviews with them by Bogdan and Taylor (1982), are both products of a respectful listener-and-advocate, and invitations to us to be respectful as accountable listeners. We also have a chance to be respectful by giving the advocate social space and helping to broadcast their voice, blurring the line between their advocacy and our own. At the "advocacy" stage, the prospective respecter has access to the testimony, words, and meanings, of those who are advocating on behalf of the entity. This respecter may not be in a position to interact with the entity in a specific role and practical context, and this respecter may not as yet see the entity in terms of her valuable characteristics or otherwise creditable traits. What they do see, though, is someone who deserves the effort of understanding. This respecter is willing to reconsider existing practices according to whether they exclude, include, elevate, or diminish the life of the one being advocated for, and they are willing to be part of a public re-valuation.

One is potentially respectful in the moment of advocacy if one supports the advocate, finding ways to influence reckoners and creditors to adjust their own vision, attitude, and action concerning what matters to the respected individual. The line is also blurry between promoting the normative power of the advocate and that of the one advocated for. This issue can be delicate, because it is possible to give important social status and roles to advocates that do not advance the interests of those who they advocate for. Advocates must be held accountable and we should take an interest in their practical effectiveness. This, too, is a way to respect the one who is advocated for.

4.3 Full Respect and Disrespect

Someone who intends to fully EMPR another will be interested in seizing every opportunity to effectively credit them, reckon with them, and advocate for them. Often, we associate respect with non-disruption, with leaving things well alone. That is because many persist within a structure or context that is already sustaining their social value. Some lives already function like a well-made table one need only avoid disrupting. This has its ironies. Sometimes it is more obvious and embarrassing to us when we have nudged a little bit of the silverware in a privileged person's life than when we have failed to give the most basic support or opening for someone already harmed in their respect-needs by stigma, isolation, or the malicious obstruction of others.

If empowerment is dynamic and process-like; so is its opposite. For the three moments of EMPR, there are corresponding levels of disrespect. 17 To lack normative power—to be disempowered within a practice or in the broader context of one's daily life—involves a downward spiral of getting no or poor credit, lacking access to any good place, and finding no ear and no reaction when one raises a complaint. Met with waves of disrespect, one is mired in stigma, cannot get cooperation, and so must fail to bring most values to fruition. The moral isolation is the gradual result of practical isolation. Morally isolated, one's situation is seen, at best, as one's own tragic problem. One might fail to respect someone, as when one misses an opportunity to give them credit, to cooperate effectively with them, or to be present and accountable to advocates. Disrespectful action goes somewhat further. It occurs when one deliberately speaks of the other in stigmatizing ways, systematically or deliberately obstructs their practical avenues for valuable use of their practical roles, or actively refuses to listen and treats as illegitimate the stories of advocates.

Given the process of disempowerment, there should be moral pressure to EMPR someone in those contexts and moments in which doing otherwise leaves them particularly vulnerable to the crushing gears of stigma, failure, and isolation. Likewise, there are situations in which refusing to respect and even being deliberately disrespectful would be the all-things-considered best choice. One of the potential benefits of the EMPR view are heuristic uses that could be made regarding the causal interconnection of the three moments (crediting, reckoning, and advocating). Thinking about both the distinctions between the different moments, and their connections, can help us to identify when we are morally "safe" to be disrespectful, on the one hand, and when EMPR is urgently called for, on the other. An influential and arrogant person will normally not be crushed by my refusal to acknowledge their high social standing. Similarly, there are many cases in which I may fail to make use of an opportunity to credit someone for their skills and talents, for their kindness, or to otherwise speak well of them without in doing so undermining their access to the good roles or statuses that they rely upon to pursue what matters to them. I may even refuse to listen to someone's complaints and demands, especially if I find the complaints to be obnoxious and entitled. While it is difficult for us to think of a morally correct action as one that is at the same time disrespectful, I think we must welcome the conceptual distance between the value of respecting and the broader value of treating people as they morally ought to be treated. Just as I would never celebrate those times when I rightly refused to care for someone who could have used my care, so, if I value being respectful, I won't be inclined to fully celebrate those times when disrespect was my best moral option. I would instead regret, to some extent, the lack of empowerment respect in my relationship with the ones I rightfully badmouthed, undermined, or deliberately ignored.

5 Conclusion: The Value of EMPR and its Value for PSPID

EMPR carries a high standard. It involves much more than giving people the distance and space that their projects might require. As potential respecters, we prepare to use the tools of social valuing to connect a person's given sources of integrity—the conditions of their life, who they trust, their wellbeing, their self-organizing pleasures, pains, and desires—to the social conditions for their flourishing. Thus, the value of EMPR converges with the value of care to offer ways to view the moral importance of our relationships. EMPR is the kind of relation that gets others to treat not just our needs, but our attention itself, as important. Unlike second-personal respect the relation of EMPR does not require that both parties are able to know they are in a relation of respect. The respected or respect-worthy need not see herself as a maker of claims or as someone with a moral right to be heard. She may have no thought at all about morality. One need only have some kind of interest and attention to give to one's environment, and a basic inarticulate openness to sharing that attention with other valuers, to be part of this world-making and to enjoy influence. The reputation of an individual with severe or profound intellectual disability matters to her not only if and because she can think about such things as reputation, but because general beliefs about her are going to determine what she can and can't enjoy participating in. Likewise, she might not be able to talk about the meaning of playing a certain social role, but the role, being constituted by norms, creates a way of interacting with her that can be positive and affirming, and allow the enjoyment of practices that were before unavailable.

To underline a point about the diverse activities that might be desirable for reasons of respect, I return to McDonald's 2012 paper, "We Want Respect." In the name of respect, those interviewed asked researchers to "get more people involved" – meaning, get more people with intellectual disabilities involved in research, and to "take the time and respect that person and read it slowly to them and then they'll understand it and that's respect" and "Just listen…and let 'em know their opinion do matters." One respondent remarked, "They've sent me stuff in the mail saying thanks for participating in the study…. I liked getting them in the mail…that they're still thinking of me…that makes me feel important." Reviewing the responses, one finds several that are unmistakably focused on the second-personal side of things—on the desire to feel equal to another on the basis of a kind of mutual accountability. But one also sees how important it is to have one's particular abilities reckoned with in the context of the valuable roles one wants to play—to be included and accommodated, and then to have one's efforts acknowledged.

What does it tell us when, in discussions about respect, activities so closely related to care, friendship, and participation are given equal footing to expressions of moral equality and mutual accountability? I think it tells us that the respect we are motivated to fight for is at once broader and more commonplace than the high altitude regard for moral personhood. Instead, what we desire is that people give us EMPR, that our fellows act in ways that support our social power through appreciative discernment and naming, through inclusive reckoning, and by being accountable to advocates. The good of normative power explains well what these participants had in mind when asked about respect. They felt respected when they felt their potential value was acknowledged (crediting) and when they were cooperated with in terms of addressing role-relevant needs (reckoning). It also seems that McDonald and her team were respectful, in the EMPR sense. They treated their subjects as worthy of reckoning with in terms of the good of science. Participants were credited with having experiences worth contributing. The interviewees' stories were given authority as moments of advocacy, and were considered as guides for developing recommendations to scientists who might work with people with intellectual disability. While the participation itself, in this case, depended on a higher level of cognitive capacity, the many moments of respect that they detailed were seldom about acknowledging that capacity or the moral equality that might be thought to issue from it.

An overarching criticism of my view could be that it seems like anything could be an opportunity for EMPR. Moreover, there is vast room for disagreement about which actions are more or less likely to bring about the kind of centering on the attention of the respected that characterizes normative power. But, I don't think this is a problem for the account. My goal has been to develop a conception of respect whose basic normativity is not derived from a conception of moral personhood. However, it is our moral view, together with our view of what flourishing is for different entities, that will have to settle many questions as to what sorts of actions are likely to be good for the respected and when such a good should be prioritized or avoided. To help steer those who want to utilize a conception of respect, whether in an account of ethics or a theory of justice, this view of respect organizes, under one idea (the process of empowerment), three main contexts of respect (and corresponding disrespect). Those three areas are (A) Crediting: giving people credit for the potentially good-making things about what and who they are (rather than making it discrediting—example how we treat prisoners), (B) Reckoning: cooperating with people and helping them use their given roles and responsibilities to succeed (rather than ignoring helpful role-related norms and helping to cause them to fail), and (C) Advocating: helping to magnify the voice and authority of those who advocate for them, taking seriously the testimony that reveals more about what flourishing requires of empowerment (rather than contributing to their isolation). This process-view of empowerment can help explain practices we associate with respect and disrespect, and indicate how these practices are related.


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  1. Emphasis is in the original.
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  2. For example, this demand to prove cognitive competence has encouraged isolating divisions within autistic self-advocacy. In a July 2019 episode of the podcast "Disability Visibility," self-advocate Finn Gardiner says this: "We used to be more separate. Especially in the autistic community, there were these people Aspie supremacists who would often go, 'Oh, we're not like those autistic people who have intellectual disabilities and can't work and have high support needs.' …When I got involved years ago, I remember a lot of people going on about oh, well, I'm high functioning and I don't want to be lumped in with those people! Which is nonsense. We are all in this together."
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  3. Burgess and Plunkett (2013) helpfully outline the philosophical terrain they call conceptual ethics. What distinguishes conceptual ethics from conceptual analysis is that the former makes prescriptions about how we ought to talk, what concepts we ought to use, and for what purposes.
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  4. The connection is emphasized in the important work of Cureton and Silvers (2017), when they argue that an important part of respecting children with disabilities is to support and not to discourage their interest in doing things that are risky.
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  5. Cureton (2016:78) makes use of Kant's statement without questioning its validity.
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  6. One way to think about the concept of respect has been to think about different senses of respect, as Stephen Hudson (1980) and Robin Dillon (1992 & 2018) have done. But, the respecter in each case is the one who makes themselves beholden to whatever the institution gives as the correct point of view to take on the object. There isn't a sense that respect aims at a certain desirable result for the respected.
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  7. An exception to this is Theodore Benditt's "Why Respect Matters" (2008).
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  8. For an interesting example of this line of thought see Adam Cureton's "Offensive Beneficence" (2016).
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  9. There are different kinds of so-called objects of recognition respect, and I am ultimately only concerned with those objects that have interests of their own, and can be thought to personally benefit from being treated respectfully.
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  10. For comparison see Dillon's discussion of obstacle respect (1992: 108-109, fn. 9). Here the lion tamer is mentioned as valuing the sharp teeth of the lion in the way that the tennis player values the strength of their opponent. My example does not highlight this aspect of obstacle respect; rather, I am thinking about whether this is the sort of relation that the lion would find desirable. If this is what it means to respect the lion, why would the lion want our respect?
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  11. There are different ideas of intrinsic value; I am persuaded by the one offered by Shelley Kagan (1998). I think Kagan is right in saying that something's having value as an "end" or a final source of reasons does not require an explanation from intrinsic properties. As Kagan maintains, relational properties might be the source of a thing's intrinsic value.
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  12. For a helpful account of respect, which compares Darwall and Raz and resonates in some ways with what I am saying here, see Shockley 2009.
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  13. On engrossment as a feature of the caring relation, see Noddings 1984, inter alia. Engrossment is a "burdened mental state" of deep involvement and "solicitude" that the carer takes on (1984: 9), which motivates and sharpens their perception and ability to meet the needs of the cared-for.
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  14. The term "social legibility" is being used loosely here, and is not meant to align with the current use of phrase in sociology and urban studies. What I mean is closer to Judith Butler's use of the phrase in Gender Trouble and elsewhere. While those with relatively normal cognitive capacities (including symbolic self-consciousness, etc.) can play with the idea of stepping away from the norms under which they are perceived, people with profound intellectual disabilities are not able to put into question the categories and essences that are attributed to them. Instead of first realizing they are free to trouble the existing norms, and then finding ways to do so, PSPID must be presented with a variety of situations that invite new ways of seeing and interacting with them, and then possibly be able to reveal themselves in ways that invite more empowering characterizations.
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  15. Empowerment is not the same as flourishing. For example, some entity that grows and survives outside of society can flourish as an individual—many kinds of creatures do. The flourishing of most living things is only significantly affected by role, status, and reputation insofar as the activities that make their life good are activities controlled by human beings and human institutions. But, empowerment is certainly part of a flourishing life, and it is the dimension of flourishing that is the focus of respectful acts.
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  16. Another example can be found in research that shows the positive difference it makes when support staff become attuned to the value for people with intellectual disabilities of apparently low-priority ways of spending time together. (Johnson et al, 2012). To the untrained eye might seem like two people doing nothing of importance might in fact be a much-anticipated afternoon of silently hanging out. What to some might seem like an ill-advised tolerance of rudeness, could be in a cherished routine of teasing and slap stick humor. Meaningful relationships require being able to get support in these enjoyable ways of spending time together. "Legitimizing mirth and sharing time in social interactions may supplement paid worker job satisfaction and increase opportunities for social inclusion by people with severe intellectual disability" (2012: 1).
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  17. My view of kinds of disrespect is different from Honneth's (1992), for example, because it is not centered upon the loss of a sense of self, or on levels of harm to grounds of self-esteem and self-respect. For Honneth there are three kinds of disrespect, pertaining to bodily integrity, rights, and social identity. For me, the kinds of disrespect are identified in relation to the different moments of empowerment. If anything, they are closer to Raz's way of categorizing how we should respond to value.
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