David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Kant-Studien 100 (3):309-331 (2009)
In this article I argue that Kant's conception of dignity is commonly misunderstood. On the basis of a few passages in the Grundlegung scholars often attribute to Kant a view of dignity as an absolute inner value all human beings possess. However, a different picture emerges if one takes into account all the passages in which Kant uses ‘dignity’. I shall argue that Kant's conception of dignity is a more Stoic one: He conceives of dignity as sublimity ( Erhabenheit ) or the highest elevation of something over something else. ‘Dignity’ expresses that something is ‘raised above’ all else. What it is raised above, and in virtue of what, depends on the context in which Kant uses ‘dignity’. For instance, he talks about the dignity of a monarch to refer to his rank as the ruler of his subjects. When Kant refers to the dignity of humanity, he expresses the view that human beings have a prerogative over the rest of nature in virtue of being free. What Kant is saying in the famous Grundlegung passage on dignity is that morality is raised above other determinations of will in that morality alone should be valued unconditionally. In unfolding the complicated usage of ‘dignity’ in Kant's works, my reading helps to bring out the coherence of his ethics.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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.
Citations of this work BETA
Ana Marta González (2011). Kant's Philosophy of Education: Between Relational and Systemic Approaches. Journal of Philosophy of Education 45 (3):433-454.
Houston Smit & Mark Timmons (2011). The Moral Significance of Gratitude in Kant's Ethics. Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (4):295-320.
Jaakko Kuosmanen (2013). What (If Anything) Is Wrong with Trading Refugee Quotas? Res Publica 19 (2):103-119.
Jill Graper Hernandez (2015). Human Value, Dignity, and the Presence of Others. HEC Forum 27 (3):249-263.
Margit Ruffing (2011). Kant-Bibliographie 2009. Kant-Studien 102 (4):499-540.
Similar books and articles
Lennart Nordenfelt (2004). The Varieties of Dignity. Health Care Analysis 12 (2):69-81.
Katrin Froese (2008). The Art of Becoming Human: Morality in Kant and Confucius. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 7 (3):257-268.
Thaddeus Metz (2012). African Conceptions of Human Dignity: Vitality and Community as the Ground of Human Rights. Human Rights Review 13 (1):19-37.
P. Allmark (2002). Death with Dignity. Journal of Medical Ethics 28 (4):255-257.
Carol V. A. Quinn (2008). Towards a Social Conception of Dignity. International Journal of Applied Philosophy 22 (1):89-101.
Shaoping Gan (2009). Human Dignity as a Right. Frontiers of Philosophy in China 4 (3):370-384.
Peter Baumann (2007). Persons, Human Beings, and Respect. Polish Journal of Philosophy 1 (2):5-17.
Doris Schroeder (2012). Human Rights and Human Dignity. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (3):323-335.
Ernesto V. Garcia (2000). The Social Nature of Kantian Dignity. Social Philosophy Today 16:127-139.
Added to index2009-09-17
Total downloads499 ( #770 of 1,725,629 )
Recent downloads (6 months)41 ( #28,544 of 1,725,629 )
How can I increase my downloads?