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Respect: An Exploration

Lawrence-Lightfoot, S. (1999). Perseus Books.

Professor Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot is a sociologist and Professor of Education at Harvard University. She is the author of many works on education and related matters and is a recipient of various academic awards, including the prestigious MacArthur Prize. This latest contribution brings together various themes found in her other works. It is written for an educated audience of nonspecialists and would therefore be helpful in undergraduate ethics courses, especially as she always connects abstract principles to concrete people, stories, and actions. The general theme of the book is that respect is a necessary component of the good life, including its dimensions as personal, interpersonal, and communal. We see clearly that terrible results follow actions that do not show respect, but we can also see the moral necessity of respect for any humanly decent relationships.