Human Dignity and the Constitution

Jurisprudence 7 (1):30-46 (2016)

Abstract
Most contemporary national constitutions and international human rights declarations recognise the respect of human dignity as their inviolable fundamental principle. Nevertheless, besides some generally accepted cases of its flagrant violations, human dignity remains a highly controversial concept not only in its practical application but also in its theoretical explication. In order to resolve all these kinds of problems, we need a sound philosophical foundation of dignity that would allow a coherent moral reading of our constitutional documents. The crucial question is: what justifies dignity's place as the leading constitutional principle? There are three conceptions concerning dignity's nature and role: the conception of dignity as the highest constitutional value, namely the value of humanity and of human life; the conception of dignity as the chief personal right; and the conception of dignity as status. The conception of human dignity as the highest value is adopted by the prevailing constitutiona...
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DOI 10.1080/20403313.2015.1066556
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