Journal of Religious Ethics 42 (4):776-782 (2014)

This essay responds to Bharat Ranganathan's “Comment” on my essay, “The Concept of Dignity in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” . Addressing key criticisms in this “Comment,” I make the following points. First, neither the idea of inherent dignity being “imparted” to humans, nor the Universal Declaration's implication—through its use of terms such as “inherent” and “inalienable”—that humans participate in transcendent reality, necessarily presuppose a Christian metaphysics. Second, a concept such as “inherent dignity” must be affirmed to be intrinsically heuristic unless we are to assume that its meaning can be completely known within the conditions of existence; but this affirmation does not render such concepts “indeterminate of sense.” Finally, Ranganathan's distinction between“weak” and “strong” senses of transcendence is untenable. If human truths beyond all contingencies are knowable , then there must be a real dimension of meaning that transcends all contingencies
Keywords human dignity  transcendence  human rights  Universal Declaration of Human Rights  heuristic concepts
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DOI 10.1111/jore.12082
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