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/ Institute of Philosophy, Citizenship and Youth

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PhiloQuests: the day of help

3. Brain Fuel

A question of respect


This activity is inspired by the Taktikou and Alterlumi dialogues from the philocreation approach of our community partner Brila.


Objective To propel alternative representations of respect to get this very serious concept to loosen up!

Duration : 30 to 60 minutes

Material : 

  • Your imagination
  • Sheets of paper and pencils

Instructions : 

It goes without saying that respect is important, right? Hmm... at first glance, there doesn't seem to be any doubt about this—we could even say that respect doesn't seem to be a very contestable concept. But can its importance be taken too seriously? Can it hide something that deserves a second look? Let's think about it... is respect a matter of perspective?


  1. Express your respect. Think of different actions that are used to express respect, such as shaking hands or saying "thank you!” If you had to choose—or even invent—the best way to express respect, what would it be and why? Are there good and bad ways to express respect? Can you show respect in your own way... or is it better to follow the customs? But then again, you have to know which customs to follow...

  2. Interpret the expressions. The word respect is used in a lot of expressions... as if everyone understood it in the same way. But is respect the same for everyone? Read each of the expressions below and then imagine different situations in which these expressions are used. You can even imagine little scenarios in your head or interpret them in a skit. Can the same expression be used to express many different things?

  3. Analyze the expressions. To help you analyze the expressions, consider the following thinking prompts, and don't forget to offer reasons to explain and justify your answers! If you can express a lack of respect... can you also be too respectful? If you have to be worthy of respect... is respect something that is earned? Does everyone deserve respect? Hmm... the expression "with all due respect" often precedes a statement that is far from respectful... so can respect hide hostility? Further, is respect something that you owe to others—like you might owe money, for example? Can one be in “debt of respect?” Often, the expression "it's a question of respect" is used to accentuate a statement that can no longer be questioned... Can respect prevent dialogue? Why or why not? 

1. lack of respect, 2. worthy of repect, 3. with all due respect..., 4. it's a question of repect


Bonus : You may be asking yourself, "What's the connection between respect and help?" That's a very good question! Can helping others be a way to express respect? Conversely, can you show respect by choosing not to help someone? Try to find examples that illustrate each of these positions. We could also wonder whether helping others is possible without respect... Can you help someone you don't respect? Should you help someone who is not respectful? Why or why not?

Bonus plus : To continue your reflection, you can read the following comic strip and ask yourself: What exactly does respect mean? It seems so obvious! But if you wonder for a moment, it can quickly become really confusing! If someone disturbs you with their music while you're trying to read quietly, are you being disrespected? Or is it your desire for silence that is disrespecting the music... or the freedom of expression!? How do you know what to respect? Can it be acceptable not to respect someone or something? Why or why not?

comic strip: what is respect?

This comic strip is reproduced with permission from the philosophy columns of our community partner Les Explorateurs magazine. It was produced in collaboration with our team at the Institute of Philosophy, Citizenship and Youth.


Tricks for tots : Has anyone ever told you that respect is important and that you must respect others? But why? Why is respect important? To help you understand the importance of respect, imagine a world where respect doesn't exist—a world where all those expressions of respect are complete gibberish! What would the world be like without respect?
Tips for teens : Do you know any other sayings or idioms about respect? If so, analyze them in the same way! If not, here are a few more! Do you know the expression "to pay someone your respect?" It usually means to honour someone, but it can also mean showing submission, as in “you have to pay respect to your your parents!” But... does respect have to be mutual? What is the difference between respect and fear? There is also the expression "Respect!" which can be used to emphasize excellence! So then... what’s the difference between respect and admiration?

Share your creative reflections by sending them via email.
Include photos of your projects and notes of your thoughts, as well as your first name and your age!

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