The concepts of dignity : an analysis

Ersta Sköndal Bräcke Högskola Arbetsrapportserie 99 (2021)
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Abstract

In this article I provide an analysis of some salient concepts of dignity. The text is a development of a work which was initiated in the year 2000 in the research programme Dignity and Older Europeans supported by the European Union. The programme was both theoretical and empirical. The empirical part, which was the most comprehensive, consisted of focus-group interviews with health care and social care personnel, elderly persons within health care or social care, and representatives from the general public. The interviews concerned the care of the elderly and attitudes towards the elderly. Some questions concerned how the interviewees conceived the concept of dignity and what they meant by behaviour respectful of dignity in the care of the elderly. Altogether around 1000 focus-group interviews were conducted in seven of the countries involved. The theoretical part of the programme consisted of an analysis of the concepts of dignity based on studies of dictionary entries in six languages as well as previous philosophical analyses of the concept. In the theoretical part of the study there emerged four different concepts of dignity: dignity of merit, dignity of moral standing, dignity of identity and human dignity. Characterizations of these concepts have been presented and developed in several publications, for example Nordenfelt and. In the present article this analysis is taken a step further. I take as a starting point some previous studies, including Schroeder, Sulmasy and my earlier ones, and propose an improvement and clarification of my earlier classification of dignities. At the same time I enlarge the analysis to concern worths in general and how these are attached to entities in general, not just human beings. The four kinds of dignities which I now propose are called: attributed dignity, dignity of inflorescence, dignity of identity and human dignity.

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References found in this work

Sameness and Substance Renewed.David Wiggins - 2001 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by David Wiggins.
Foundations of the metaphysics of morals.Immanuel Kant - 2000 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. New York, NY, United States of America: Oxford University Press USA.
Sameness and Substance Renewed.David Wiggins - 2001 - Philosophy 79 (307):133-141.
Sameness and Substance Renewed.David Wiggins - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (2):456-461.
The Varieties of Dignity.Lennart Nordenfelt - 2004 - Health Care Analysis 12 (2):69-81.

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