Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Justifying an Adequate Response to the Vulnerable Other

Chandra Kavanagh

Resum


Is it possible to justify requiring that I respond adequately to the other’s vulnerability? I contend that insofar as I value my own personal identity it is consistent to respond adequately to the vulnerability of the other. Part one provides a break down of vulnerability in terms of its fundamental indeterminacy. Part two illustrates how the ability to respond either adequately or inadequately to the other’s vulnerability is implied by the fundamental co-constitution of personal identity. I understand myself as a self only insofar as I stand in relation to other selves that see me as a self. If the relationship between recognition and identity also holds for the other, my response to her vulnerability founds her identity as well. In part three the relationship developed in part two is employed to justify the obligation to respond adequately to the vulnerable other. If I value my own personal identity, then I require an adequate response from others, because that response plays an integral role in the foundation of my personal identity. The other cannot respond adequately to my vulnerability unless her own identity is assured. Only if I respond adequately to the vulnerability of the other will she be in a position to assure my identity. Therefore, I ought to respond adequately to the vulnerability of others if for no other reason than it puts the other in a position where she can assure the personal identity that I value.

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