After learning about ancient cultures, they invariably point to one attribute that sets Western civilization apart from any other: the unique value the West places upon human dignity. Conceptualizing human dignity as foundational is sometimes construed as bonding the existing body of human rights law with a moral claim that guarantees their force as moral, not just positive, rights. This interpretation of human dignity in terms of capability based flourishing has been reviewed and critically reinterpreted by reference to a different idea of dignity, that of dignity as a basic principle that demands recognition of the generic features of human agency as a matter of basic rights (Gewirth 1992). Human dignity is treated as having the formal features identified (universality, overridingness, and so forth); it has the characteristic content of human dignity claims (a species claim or a claim about human dignity being relational or a property); and it encompasses commitment to a distinctive normative use (for example, empowerment of the individual, expressed in terms of claim rights, that holds at least between the individual and all political institutions). We give this last option closer attention. The first and most obvious is a shift from hierarchical societies to more democratic societies and with this an emphasis on the equal status and rights of individuals. dignity th at express human dignity in a wa y not parallel or committed to human rights. Over the course of four years studying high school history, my students encounter the full vista of human history and the richness of the Western tradition. A clash between the notions of dignity as aristocratic bearing and dignity as fundamental status is a characteristic of debates concerning the French Revolution. What human dignity amounts to is an expression of the foundations of any and all of our normative practices and the demand that human rights and human dignity have a constitutive and not just regulative role in our social institutions and practices. He has initial dignity as subject to such a moral scheme, in particular by virtue of his capacity and correlated duty to live up to it. (2013) ‘Is dignity the foundation of human rights?’. P. ASSION, supra. We begin with law as the normative system within which the putative interstitial concept arose. What we typically see is that the ethical issue is addressed in terms of norms or principles accepted in the practice, and that politics or law let this happen and regulate only in their own terms—quite independent of an explicit assessment in terms of IHD, let alone in terms of a coherent integration of philosophical ethics, politics, law, empirical knowledge and practical constraints (compare Düwell, 2012). By the same token, Honneth’s work on the political conditions of recognition (1996) entwines respect with the basic conditions of individual and group identity. As such, his dignity may not entail any or all duties that others have to him, such as to respect or even support him. What follows is an analysis of human dignity’s uses in law, ethics, and politics, and a critical description of the functions and tensions generated by human dignity within these fields. It is less clear how the IHD functions regarding another common distinction, that between horizontal application (between individuals) and vertical application (between the state and individual). Utrecht University This paper presents the theoretical model of dignity that has been created within the Dignity and Older Europeans (DOE) Project. Nevertheless, this is a demand for a far more substantial explication of human rights, institutions, and good—that is, human dignity preserving—interaction between law, morality and politics in practice. We may also note at this point a common distinction between human dignity as status and value. The sum of this jurisprudential thought is a mixture of general thinking about the foundation of constitutional rights alongside specific focus on the prohibition of degradation and objectification. The nature and content of international law can partially explain such tensions. What is human dignity? Dignity is protected as a value or a right, or both, in international law and many domestic jurisdictions. A brief history of human dignity. This amounts to having significance in all possible interactions between the collective and the individual. A characteristic expression is found in the Preamble of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) whose rights “derive from the inherent dignity of the human person” and whose animating principle is “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family [as] the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” This assertion and others like it form a common reference point in contemporary literature on human dignity. It could be expressed in more sociological terms as a defense of functional differentiation, the coexistence of different social systems that an individual can move between. Second, in Rawls’s later work where “decent non-liberal” societies are insulated from criticism and intervention from liberal states, we might say that Rawls concedes that non-liberal states—states that would clearly not accept an IHD principle as foundational—are nonetheless morally and politically justified (2001). Only the former rights, duties and privileges are likely to be treated as having systemic application (being justiciable or enforceable), at least within liberal political systems that refuse to enforce moral conduct. This principle specifies what we should value in the individual. Starting from the idea that human beings have a distinctive significance, at least two possibilities flow: the existence of duties of dignity that address its bearer, and duties of dignity that address others. It might be that this represents a manifestation of the IHD concept in that the idea is intended to have application across different systems and also be extended to other, new forms of moral and political challenges. 1, pp. Type to Search Search USA GAG - Lastest US and World NEWS 24/7. Consider, for instance, Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) (“everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity”). This has been done to find the issue and analyse the best option to tackle the same (Amnesty International, 2009). The foundational significance of human dignity is frequently assumed to extend beyond international human rights law to the international legal system as a whole. (This partially resembles Beyleveld and Brownsword’s contrast between the empowerment and constraint conceptions of human dignity.) Email: email@example.com Each of these presumptions has a questionable relationship with an IHD. Sociological shifts are also crucial in understanding the competing functions of human dignity in political discourse. Learners will view/read a variety of texts to create meaning, share thinking and deepen their understanding of human dignity. Note that these formal criteria are not treated as necessary conditions for human dignity but are, rather, claims commonly associated with human dignity in international law. First, different jurisdictions and institutions have given such radically different functions to human dignity that it is not always clear that one concept, the IHD, is at work. However, it can be argued that the possibility of an interstitial concept nevertheless has support within the fields. There are a number of competing conceptions of human dignity taking their meaning from the cosmological, anthropological, or political context in which human dignity is used. But the question of why there are tensions between these uses and the IHD is a revealing line of enquiry in itself. (2009) ‘Human Dignity and Human Rights’, Düwell, M. (2009) ‘On the Possibility of a Hierarchy of Moral Goods’, in, Düwell, M. (2014) ‘Human dignity: concepts, discussions, philosophical perspectives’, in. William J. Brennan, Jr., My Life on the Court, in. Here human dignity is neither a principle nor clearly foundational of the right it is associated with (or any other right); instead, it is a telos or standard. Sensen, O. infra -1c. It should be noted that the very idea of a relative standing of human beings over nonhuman animals and nature does not entail that human beings should be protected for that dignity (Sensen, 2011). Understood as interstitial concepts, human dignity and the rule of law are intended precisely to express the importance of links between politics and law and the co-regulation of the two. Second, the IHD seems an ideal candidate for a kind of Grundnorm or secondary rule in law: a norm giving validity to legal systems as a whole or a principle governing the application of all norms within a system. Common uses of human dignity in healthcare and medical ethics that treat human dignity as one amongst many ‘middle-level principles,’ or bioethical readings that treat human dignity as synonymous with sanctity, would be non-standard readings on these assumptions and intelligible only as idiosyncratic local uses. Author information: (1)Kilbride-Clinton Professor of Medicine and Ethics, Department of Medicine and Divinity School, MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org. In sum the three problems associated with an IHD claim are not uniformly accepted and should not be treated as a refutation of interstitial claims in general or an IHD concept specifically. Focus. It is this claim that lies at the heart of an interstitial concept of human dignity (and much else besides in international law). Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Middle ground could, potentially, be found in the capabilities approach or in an Arendtean stress on the right to have rights. Human life is sacred because the human person is the most central and clearest reflection of God among us. It remains to draw out the implications of this. The concept of human dignity is relatively new in international and domestic constitutional law. This, in turn, strengthens a link between human dignity and (moral and institutional) cosmopolitanism given that the value of individuals transcends state boundaries. For a list of these opinions, see Appendix Tables 1a . (Claiming that human beings should be prioritized over animals would of course entail that human beings have a distinctive significance.) The dignity of moral stature is a dignity of degree and it is also unevenly distributed among humans.3) The dignity of identity is tied to the integrity of the subject's body and mind, and in many instances, although not always, dependent on the subject's self‐image. Crucial conceptual and methodological questions arise from the outset regarding whether human dignity can be reconstructed as one concept or must be treated as several concepts. On the other hand, given differentiations in the world of appearances we can distinguish degrees of dignity not only between individuals, but also between classes—which one can enter only through birth—specified by the presence of the universal whole in them. Neal, M. (2012) ‘Dignity, law and language-games’. First, as argued by James Griffin, human dignity acts as the foundation of human rights and gives rise to a large range of rights related to personhood and agency; nevertheless, the menu of human rights potentially generated by human dignity must be reduced or rationalized given the equal importance of legal institutions in national legal systems as a source of settled norms and practices (Griffin 2008). Conceptions of human dignity go back a very long way. Certain historical and sociological trends are important for understanding human dignity and its role in politics. In other words, human dignity as elevation rather than human dignity as human inner significance (compare Sensen, 2011). Often, however, we see that problems are addressed without explicit recourse to an IHD, let alone via an integral assessment in terms of the philosophical commitments that come with such an IHD. It has been the recurrent theme of communitarian critics of liberalism and human rights that such permissiveness undermines the self-constitution of the individual within a polity. In their original meaning, these words referenced a person’s merit and not their inherent value as a human person. What unites these latter positions is concern about the insensitivity of human dignity relative to pressing political problems including colonialism and minority rights, along with more fundamental concerns about the emptiness of the concept relative to collective interests that cannot be disaggregated into individual interests. This concept, arising from discourses and practices of international law, has a strong relationship with equality, liberty, and the basic status of the individual. That is to say, we are to respect each other not for our relative standing, our initial dignity, but given that and insofar as non-interference or support for beings that happen to have this standing is required by cosmic or divine principle. Far from being an accident of drafting or the contingencies of finding consensus, the (re)assertion of a notion of human dignity can be seen as the intention to transcend the boundaries of the legal, moral and political. For Kant, the person is fundamentally distinct from the human animal—the whole biological being—whom we actually know and love. All three claims—status, value and principle—can be interpreted in terms of the formal features of the IHD (universal, unconditional, inalienable and overriding). This relates, in turn, to a tension between human dignity operationalized as a specific norm (or in some instances a right) and a more general principle in law. There are nevertheless resources in Arendt’s work that are clearly sympathetic to human dignity and human rights as more expansive commitments, and human dignity could be seen as the best expression of that view of human dignity as opposition to atrocity and defensive of human status and human plurality (Menke 2014). This essay presents different types of problem that can affect the human being at the workplace. In principled terms, legal systems treat justice as their foundational norm and this means that consistency, rather than moral defensibility, guides adjudication. Human dignity means that each of … note . McCrudden, C., (2008) ‘Human Dignity and Judicial Interpretation of Human Rights, Menke, C. (2014) ‘Human Dignity as the Right to Have Rights: Human Dignity in Hannah Arendt’, in. For example, the idea of a rule of law is intended to unify different fields of legal and political regulation (through demanding their consonance with good law consistent with human agency), and for that reason a number of theorists closely associate human dignity and the rule of law (Waldron 2008; Fuller 1964). Nor can a certain level of selective reconstruction be avoided. Nevertheless, there are good reasons why such a far-reaching concept should be primary in our thinking, and for this reason human dignity is likely to remain a component of normative discourse despite its problematic characteristics. Undoubtedly human dignity is associated with species claims but it is also intelligible to rely upon more formal claims about the characteristics of agents or persons in analysis of human dignity. (2011) ‘A Performative Definition of Human Dignity’. Beitz, C. (2013) ‘Human Dignity in the Theory of Human Rights: Nothing But a Phrase?’. In contrast, those positions that give the right priority over the good place rights and a plurality of reasonable conceptions of the good at the center of just institutional design. There are, by extension, dramatically different normative uses to which the concept can be put. Arendt offers an influential internal critique of politico-legal understandings of human dignity. Importantly, to respect human dignity we must have respect for both the human dignity of each individual and for the worth of humanity as a whole. Accordingly, while the following analysis does point to some historically contingent aspects of the use of human dignity, this is less important than the fact that the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) [UDHR] took place when the foundations of the international legal and political order were undergoing massive upheaval and when the need for a unifying moral principle was acute. By extension, the links between liberal political theory and human dignity are enormously complex, and can be conditioned by the demands of realism or non-ideal theory. And it is where specific norms and general principles are linked. Bonding the many functions of human dignity may be possible, at best, only through performative analysis (O’Malley 2011) or family resemblance analysis (Neal 2012), but these involve abandoning a single idea of human dignity in favor of describing various local uses. Broadly, Arendt is unsympathetic to any potential interstitial concept (given her views on the basic conditions of politics) and to generalizations about the rights of Man (given her writings on the emptiness of this notion, particularly with regard to the status of refugees). To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button. It would be impracticable (indeed perhaps senseless) to have a norm that trumped all other norms; human dignity cannot be assumed to function in a normative vacuum. Supported by tradition which has overshadowed much of our understanding of human dignity, the first question can be variously understood as the elevation of the human species, human dominion over nature, humanity as imago dei, or as the special worth of humanity relative to all other natural phenomena. Dedicated to all the unborn . Common criticisms of human dignity as vacuous or empty (because human dignity apparently collapses into notions of autonomy) would be rejected as incoherent because they fail to distinguish an IHD from either idiosyncratic local uses or from irrelevant non-interstitial uses. This is the case at the level of doctrinal analysis of human dignity, and there is important jurisprudence arising in particular from the European Court of Human Rights and from constitutions including those of Germany, South Africa and Hungary. It is worth briefly contrasting how we might approach the analysis of human dignity with that of human rights. Already in discussion of applied ethics certain of the constraining and conservative uses of human dignity are in evidence. Such a take on capabilities would imply that possibilities for certain forms of flourishing should be protected as a matter of dignity, indeed the same kind of dignity that demands respect for freedom and well-being as basic features of agency. We will refer to an interstitial concept of human dignity (IHD). First, little is added to our understanding of Rawls’s work by associating it with human dignity, and conversely the distinctive conceptual characteristics of human dignity are immediately lost in more general debates about liberal political theory. With that in mind we turn to more practice-based and power-focused links. Answers to such questions will typically concern whether human beings have standing over animals, or whether human beings have an inner significance that animal beings lack. To have dignity meant a person held a privileged position in society over others. Added to this, the different practical and philosophical presuppositions of law, ethics, and politics mean that definitive adjudication between different meanings is frustrated by disciplinary incommensurabilities. (2005), "The four notions of dignity", Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, Vol. That means that even if we accepted that individual consent could justify taking human life, it is not necessarily sufficient to ensure human dignity is not being violated. Far from being unrelated to the perfectionist notion of dignity, this latter notion of dignity functions as an underlying principle that may help us identify relevant from irrelevant human capabilities as well as to rank them so as to prevent or settle clashes between them (Düwell 2009, Claassen and Düwell 2012). And it implies that any special demands about normative priorities made by law, ethics or politics would be justified only to the extent that they were consistent with, or directly conditioned by, the overarching commitment to human dignity. As such the honorific manifestations of human dignity are distinct from the liberal concept of human dignity; they are only rarely treated as enforceable (through personality law or public morality provisions) and lack the universal or inalienable characteristics of the IHD. 20 examples: In sharp contrast, human dignity understood as human equality is perhaps too… However, this is difficult to defend as anything other than a loose generalization. Brownsword, R. (2003) ‘Bioethics today, bioethics tomorrow: stem cell research and the dignitarian alliance’, Braarvig, J. The differences concern not only questions about the nature of the subject of human dignity—a species, humanity or the human person—but also what is significant in him. Rather, ‘human dignity’ might encompass historically different, and antagonistic, ideas. While many domestic or constitutional uses of human dignity are closely related to autonomy, privacy and the protection of agency, there is no doubt that (human) dignity has also been used to impose limitations on acts that can be seen as voluntarily diminishing an individual’s own human dignity or violating duties to themselves. The assumption made here, that the latter perfectionist claims are non-focal or non-standard, is contentious (for the opposing view see Hennette-Vauchez 2011). Nordenfelt, L. and Edgar, A. The characteristics of modernity, as charted by both Weber and Durkheim, involve changes in the conception of the individual (including for Durkheim the creation of an ‘ethic’ or ‘religion’ of humanity), changes in the concept of politics, and changes in the political significance of human dignity. That is, unless human dignity rests on or implies a ‘right to have rights,’ any political and legal discourse of human dignity will be inadequate in comparison to the systematic and concrete protections offered to citizens by constitutions and constitutional rights. This Article traces each type of dignity ... with Justice Brenn an the importance of human dignity in constitutional jurisprudence). Rawls’s position (2009) in contrast faces the challenge of reconciling commitment to human dignity with treating justice as a primary institutional virtue. Where there are tensions between different fields of international law, or emerging practices in international law, human dignity is an important tool for focusing on the normative forces at work, in particular the significance of the individual as transcending the boundaries of state authority and as justifying state authority. What conceptual and practical problems does this imply? I present four kinds of dignity and spell out their differences: the dignity of merit, the dignity of moral or existential stature, the dignity of identity and the universal human dignity (Menschenwürde). Human dignity as a philosophical concept. The possibility of rebirth in a higher caste—conditional on loyalty to the caste system or on pure chance—renders consistent this universal notion of dignity with the social one. Human dignity could concern capacities, could include the direct requirement to exercise capacities, and might also concern a teleology for humanity (that is, the ontology of human dignity). This might be otherwise expressed in terms of a defense of the public-private divide. Those that do may give only partial expression to competing versions of an IHD. Dignity and human rights. The IHD is commonly associated with empowerment through human rights. The mercurial concept of human dignity features in ethical, legal, and political discourse as a foundational commitment to human value or human status. On the other hand, liberal institutions that intended to preserve the basic status of the individual have been held to be inadequate to maintain the conditions of the possibility of ethical life. It also concerns the dignity of non-enhanced human beings, whether it is threatened by the increased capacity of enhanced beings. A philosophical anthropology, along with related moral commitments, may demand or prevent perfectionist readings of human dignity which, in turn, has implications for any putative interstitial concept. As a consequence, the normative use of any IHD concept is undoubtedly conditioned by liberal assumptions concerning the proper scope of legislation. This means that Kant is the source of a kind of humanitarianism that reduces dignity to personal autonomy. Conversely, it is difficult to reconcile this restrictive, prohibitive reading with the assumption that human dignity is broad and foundational. Further differences emerge from answers to other questions: are we to grant him rights and impose on him duties; are we to value him, non-interfere and support him to perfect himself; are we to respect him? Indeed claims that both human nature and animal nature have their own distinctive significance can be interpreted both in terms of elevation and in terms of inner significance. It is argued here that a focal concept of human dignity can be reconstructed and that this concept provides the most illuminating perspective from which to view human dignity’s range of conceptions and uses. Intrinsic dignity, on the other hand, requires no effort on the part of the dignity bearer and it cannot be lost. Mozaffari, M. H. (no date) ‘The concept of Human Dignity in the Islamic Thought’. Further complexity arises from strong species-based claims or discussions of transhumanism that are focused on potential changes in the ontology of humanity. And what role does philosophical anthropology play in our ethical and legal thinking, and should this inform what we take to be enforceable in law? In Confucian tradition, dignity (qua ‘worth’) can be seen as a universal human potential that we may fail to cultivate: it is therefore universal but not unconditional; it can also be self-alienated and overridden. In this context, it especially interesting to note that in debates on pre-natal enhancement, the notion of dignity is appealed to in defense of respecting the human species as such (Bostrom, 2005; Habermas, 2005). This is distinguishable from the constraint function commonly found in bioethics and healthcare ethics, often a peremptory ban on certain kinds of uses of human beings. Nonetheless there are many instances of enforcement of more perfectionist or self-regarding conceptions of human dignity (for instance in the prohibition of ‘dwarf tossing’). Beyond this, the precise account of justification, rights, and practice is open to debate, but human dignity is the foremost expression of the deontological commitments sketched here. The dignity of merit exists in degrees and it can come and go.2) The dignity of moral stature is the result of the moral deeds of the subject; likewise it can be reduced or lost through his or her immoral deeds. It is desirable, but no simple task, to begin to draw more general conclusions about human dignity as a concept and as a component of normative debate. Also, when possibilities of securing agency are scarce in a community, priority should be given to capabilities at the core of agency. 2. Here human dignity is said to be threatened by attempts to bring to life human beings enhanced in certain ways, such as enhanced to be more competent in certain abilities that are valued by parents or society.