Persons, Human Beings, and Respect

Polish Journal of Philosophy 1 (2):5-17 (2007)
Human dignity seems very important to us. At the same time, the concept ‘human dignity’ is extrordinarily elusive. A good way to approach the questions “What is it?” and “Why is it important?” is to raise another question first: In virtue of what do human beings have dignity? Speciesism - the idea that human beings have a particular dignity because they are humans - does not seem very convincing. A better answer says that human beings have dignity because and insofar as they are <span class='Hi'>persons</span>. I discuss several versions of this idea as well as several objections against it. The most promising line of analysis says that human beings cannot survive psychologically without a very basic form of recognition and <span class='Hi'>respect</span> by others. The idea that humans have a very special dignity is the idea that they owe each other this kind of <span class='Hi'>respect</span>. All this also suggests that human dignity is inherently social. Non-social beings do not have dignity - nor do they lack it. It is because we are social animals of a certain kind that we have dignity - not so much because we are rational animals.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5840/pjphil2007121
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,914
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Lennart Nordenfelt (2004). The Varieties of Dignity. Health Care Analysis 12 (2):69-81.
Michael Hauskeller (2012). Believing in the Dignity of Human Embryos. Human Reproduction and Genetic Ethics 17 (1):53-65.
Shaoping Gan (2009). Human Dignity as a Right. Frontiers of Philosophy in China 4 (3):370-384.
Doris Schroeder (2012). Human Rights and Human Dignity. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (3):323-335.
Daniel Statman (2000). Humiliation, Dignity and Self-Respect. Philosophical Psychology 13 (4):523 – 540.
Vasil Gluchman (2008). Human Dignity and its Non-Utilitarian Consequentialist Aspects. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 10:127-133.
Gan Shaoping & Zhang Lin (2009). Human Dignity as a Right. Frontiers of Philosophy in China 4 (3):370 - 384.
Dunja Jaber (2000). Human Dignity and the Dignity of Creatures. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 13 (1):29-42.
Manuel Toscano (2011). Human Dignity as High Moral Status. Les Ateliers de l'Éthique / the Ethics Forum 6 (2):4-25.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

26 ( #115,676 of 1,725,571 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #110,437 of 1,725,571 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.