Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (2019), 628-651.
Many theories of social justice maintain that concern for the social bases of self-respect grounds demanding requirements of political and economic equality, as self-respect is supposed to be dependent on continuous just recognition by others. This paper argues that such views miss an important feature of self-respect, which accounts for much its value: self-respect is a capacity for self-orientation that is robust under adversity. This does not mean that there are no social bases of self-respect that such theories ought to cater to. It means that they are different: they consist of the motivational and epistemic resources needed to develop and maintain such robustness.