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Oppressive praise can involve stereotype-informed expectations and can convey problematic social meanings about who is esteem-worthy. Here, I consider more fully the harms of such praise, both for the direct recipient and for wider audiences: the positional harms involved in the entrenchment of social hierarchy; the harms of entrenching stereotypes; and the harmful effects of oppressive praise on the cultivation of moral agency. With these harms in view, I articulate and evaluate some strategies for resisting oppressive praise. I conclude that moral communities have shared responsibility for resisting oppressive praise, both reactively and otherwise.

The Institute of Philosophy hosts a regular workshop series entitled ‘The Practical, the Political, and the Ethical’.

The series was created in 2015 by Véronique Munoz-Dardé (UCL) and Hallvard Lillehammer (Birkbeck) in order to discuss work in progress from visiting speakers. This year the series is convened by Elise Woodard (KCL) and Michael Hannon (Nottingham). Talks are normally 45 minutes (no pre-circulation of the paper), followed by discussion. All are welcome.