[SydPhil] USyd Philosophy Event - Anca Gheaus, "Taking personal responsibility for good and bad relationships"

Emily Hulme emily.hulme at sydney.edu.au
Mon Oct 24 14:00:55 AEDT 2022

Anca Gheaus, "Taking personal responsibility for good and bad relationships"
University of Sydney Philosophy Seminar Series
Philosophy Seminar Room, Wed. 26/10, 3:30–5
Simulcast via Zoom: https://uni-sydney.zoom.us/j/87937027507

A pre-circulated paper will be available; please write Emily (emily.hulme at sydney.edu.au<mailto:emily.hulme at sydney.edu.au>) if you'd like to get access to a copy.

Abstract: It is generally desirable that everyone has good relationships; recently, some philosophers have argued that access to such relationships is also a demand of justice. This paper draws attention to the division of labour with respect to responsibilities for achieving this ideal – whether or not understood as a demand of justice. I share the view that states have duties to facilitate good relationships and protect individuals from many of the bads of relationships, and that individuals have duties to try and befriend those in particular need of relationships. Here I focus on the missing piece of the puzzle about making possible good relationships: our outcome responsibility for the existence and nature of our personal relationships. For a person to enjoy the non-instrumental value of a relationship, affection and valuing attention must be directed at who she is, rather than at her generic humanity, or her conventional social presentation. Moreover, in the best relationships each party is of some prudential non-instrumental value to the other. To bring about these states of affairs, individuals must play an agential role in their relationships by revealing their inner life – their personality, minds and emotions – and by being at least tolerable participants to relationships. Further, when one’s near and dear repeatedly misuse the power they have over her, one bears some outcome responsibility: she continues to give them that power, by remaining in the relationship. Acknowledging the causal role we play in the creation of valuable relationships and in the perpetuation of disvaluable ones, makes it possible for people to take personal responsibility for showing up and being good participants to relationships, and for putting distance between themselves and those who neglect or abuse them.
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