Quiet Resistance: The Value of Personal Defiance

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What reason does one have to resist oppression? The reasons that most easily come to mind are those having to do with justice—reasons that arise from commitments to human equality and the common good. In this paper, I argue that there are also reasons of love—reasons that arise from personal attachments to specific people, projects, or activities. I defend a distinctive form of resistance that is characteristically undertaken for reasons of love, which I call Quiet Resistance. Contrary to theories that build reasons of justice into the definition of resistance, I argue that we have strong reason to consider Quiet Resistance a genuine form of resistance. Finally, I argue that the reasons in favor of engaging in Quiet Resistance help to explain its distinctive value. In short, when one engages in Quiet Resistance, one’s actions are valuable in large part because they allow one to maintain respect for one’s personal values and meaning in life under oppressive conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Ethics
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V. part of Springer Nature.


  • Love
  • Oppression
  • Protest
  • Reasons of love
  • Resistance


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