Dignity and Vulnerability: Strength and Quality of Character


Authors
Neera K. Badhwar
University of Oklahoma
Abstract
In this significant new addition to moral theory, George Harris challenges a view of the dignity and worth of persons that goes back through Kant and Christianity to the Stoics. He argues that we do not, in fact, believe this view, which traces any breakdowns of character to failures of strength. When it comes to what we actually value in ourselves and others, he says, we are far more Greek than Christian. At the most profound level, we value ourselves as natural organisms, as animals, rather than as godlike beings who transcend nature. The Kantian-Christian-Stoic tradition holds that if we were fully able to realize our dignity as Kantians, Christians, or Stoics, we would be better, stronger people, and therefore less vulnerable to character breakdown. _Dignity and Vulnerability_ offers an opposing view, that sometimes character breaks down not because of some shortcoming in it but because of what is good about it, because of the very virtues and features of character that give us our dignity. If dignity can make us fragile and vulnerable to breakdown, then breakdown can be benign as well as harmful, and thus the conceptions of human dignity embedded in the tradition leading up to Kant are deeply mistaken. Harris proposes a foundation for our belief in human dignity in what we can actually know about ourselves, rather than in metaphysical or theological fantasy. Having gained this knowledge, we can understand the source of real strength
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  Philosophy of Mind
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0031-8205   9780520208438  
DOI ppr200163171
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 40,683
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

Humiliation, Dignity and Self-Respect.Daniel Statman - 2000 - Philosophical Psychology 13 (4):523 – 540.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP index
2011-01-09

Total views
36 ( #223,029 of 2,242,907 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #254,385 of 2,242,907 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature