Southern Journal of Philosophy 55 (3):285-305 (2017)

I argue that Kant's ethical framework cannot countenance a certain kind of failure to respect oneself that can occur within oppressive social contexts. Kant's assumption that any person, qua rational being, has guaranteed epistemic access to the moral law as the standard of good action and the capacity to act upon this standard makes autonomy an achievement within the individual agent's power, but this is contrary to a feminist understanding of autonomy as a relational achievement that can be thwarted by the systematic attack on autonomy that occurs within oppressive social conditions. Insofar as Kant's negative duty of self-respect is unable to accommodate the ways immersion in oppressive social environments can warp an individual's understanding of what she is owed and capable of as a moral agent, it perpetuates the cruelty of unjust social systems in the guise of respecting individual autonomy. I conclude by considering Carol Hay's argument that those who are oppressed have an obligation to themselves to resist their own oppression, in order to explore how this limitation in how Kant conceives of the duty to respect the self may reach expression in contemporary ethical theory inspired by Kant.
Keywords Kant  feminism  oppression
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DOI 10.1111/sjp.12242
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References found in this work BETA

The Obligation to Resist Oppression.Carol Hay - 2011 - Journal of Social Philosophy 42 (1):21-45.
Servility and Self-Respect.Jr Thomas E. Hill - 1973 - The Monist 57 (1):87 - 104.

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Citations of this work BETA

Respect.Robin S. Dillon - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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