Human Rights and Human Dignity

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (3):323-335 (2012)
Abstract
Why should all human beings have certain rights simply by virtue of being human? One justification is an appeal to religious authority. However, in increasingly secular societies this approach has its limits. An alternative answer is that human rights are justified through human dignity. This paper argues that human rights and human dignity are better separated for three reasons. First, the justification paradox: the concept of human dignity does not solve the justification problem for human rights but rather aggravates it in secular societies. Second, the Kantian cul-de-sac: if human rights were based on Kant’s concept of dignity rather than theist grounds, such rights would lose their universal validity. Third, hazard by association: human dignity is nowadays more controversial than the concept of human rights, especially given unresolved tensions between aspirational dignity and inviolable dignity. In conclusion, proponents of universal human rights will fare better with alternative frameworks to justify human rights rather than relying on the concept of dignity
Keywords Dignity  Human rights  Kant
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10677-011-9326-3
Options
 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
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 29,511
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
On Human Rights.James Griffin - 2008 - Oxford University Press.
Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals.Kant Immanuel - 1785/2002 - Oxford University Press.
Women and Human Development.Martha C. Nussbaum - 2003 - Mind 112 (446):372-375.
Making Sense of Human Rights.James W. Nickel - 1987 - University of California Press.

View all 14 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Human Dignity as a Right.Shaoping Gan - 2009 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 4 (3):370-384.
Human Dignity as a Right.Gan Shaoping & Zhang Lin - 2009 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 4 (3):370 - 384.
On Revaluing the Currency of Human Rights.Katherine Eddy - 2007 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 6 (3):307-328.
Human Dignity as High Moral Status.Manuel Toscano - 2011 - Les ateliers de l'éthique/The Ethics Forum 6 (2):4-25.
Situating the Employee Rights Debate.Donald Kirby - 1985 - Journal of Business Ethics 4 (4):269 - 276.
Human Dignity and Capital Punishment.Thomas W. Satre - 1991 - Journal of Philosophical Research 16:233-250.
Persons, Human Beings, and Respect.Peter Baumann - 2007 - Polish Journal of Philosophy 1 (2):5-17.
Added to PP index
2012-01-19

Total downloads
179 ( #25,833 of 2,180,709 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
13 ( #18,337 of 2,180,709 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums