8th Pavia Graduate Conference in Political Philosophy – Abstract/Hermann

Isabella Hermann

How Much Respect is Justifiable Towards Non-Liberal States?

To solve pressing global problems like climate change or proliferation of nuclear weapons Western liberal democracies need to cooperate with non-liberal and non-democratic states as in our globalised world no effective agreements can be implemented be leaving out important players – liberal or not. Showing respect is one important factor to come to agreements in a negotiation-process as respect fosters pro-social and cooperative behaviour whereas disrespect promotes anger and destructive actions. Agreements that have been signed within a respectful atmosphere possess a higher degree of legitimacy what increases later compliance to the agreement. But is it morally justifiable for liberal states (subjects of respect) to show respect towards non liberal states (objects of respect) where human rights are not implemented but even undermined? The author argues that showing objective respect meaning consideration of the state’s presence, interests as well as legal rights is morally justifiable. That is because this kind of respect is based on a common accepted order within the current international state system with state sovereignty and integrity as fundamental principles. Yet it is questionable if showing this kind of respect alone leads to a perception of being respected by the object as there still exists another type of respect: Subjective respect as the adequate consideration of particular features and characteristics of a state. What is adequate in this case probably differs within the perception of the subject and object of respect as it depends on the very cultural background. In showing subjective respect that goes beyond moral justification liberal democracies have to rely on their on their own sense of adequacy that will be evaluated by its own people within internal discourses and elections.