Advertisement

Three Crucial Turns on the Road to an Adequate Understanding of Human Dignity

  • Ralf Stoecker
Chapter
Part of the Library of Ethics and Applied Philosophy book series (LOET, volume 24)

Abstract

Human dignity is one of the key concepts of our ethical evaluations, in politics, in biomedicine, as well as in everyday life. In moral philosophy, however, human dignity is a source of intractable trouble. It has a number of characteristic features which apparently do not fit into one coherent ethical concept. Hence, philosophers tend to ignore or circumvent the concept. There is hope for a philosophically attractive conception of human dignity, however, given that one takes three crucial turns. The negative turn: to start the inquiry with violations of human dignity. The inductive turn: to consider the whole range of applications of the concept of human dignity in different areas of ethics. And finally, the historical turn: to take into account the historical bonds between human dignity and traditional conceptions of dignity. Taken together they point in the direction of an understanding of human dignity as universal nobility.

Keywords

Human Dignity Normative Ethical Theory Historical Turn Individual Dignity Roman Understanding 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Agich, George J. 2007. Reflections on the function of dignity in the context of caring for old people. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 32(5): 483–494.Google Scholar
  2. Améry, Jean. 1977. Jenseits von Schuld und Sühne: Bewältigungsversuche eines Überwältigten. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta.Google Scholar
  3. Beauchamp, Tom L., and James F. Childress. 2009. Principles of biomedical ethics. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Birnbacher, Dieter. 2004. Menschenwürde – abwägbar oder unabwägbar? In Biomedizin und Menschenwürde, ed. Matthias Kettner. Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  5. Burckhardt, Jacob, and Horst Günther. 1989. Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien. Frankfurt/Main: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag.Google Scholar
  6. Damschen, Gregor, and Dieter Schönecker. 2003. Der moralische Status menschlicher Embryonen: Pro und contra Spezies-, Kontinuums-, Identitäts- und Potentialitätsargument. New York, NY: De Gruyter.Google Scholar
  7. Des Pres, Terrence. 1976. The survivor: An anatomy of life in the death camps. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Dworkin, Ronald. 1993. Life’s dominion – An argument about abortion and euthanasia. Hammersmith: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
  9. Franklin, Lise-Lotte, Britt-Marie Ternestedt, and Lennart Nordenfelt. 2006. Views on dignity of elderly nursing home residents. Nursing Ethics 13(2): 130–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Frey, Raymond G., and Christopher Heath Wellman. 2003. A companion to applied ethics. Malden, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  11. Gelernter, David. 2008. The religious character of human dignity. In Human dignity and bioethics, ed. President’s Council on Bioethics, 387–405. Washington, DC: President’s Council on Bioethics.Google Scholar
  12. Gewirth, Alan. 1992. Human dignity as the basis of rights. In The constitution of rights – Human dignity and american values, eds. Michael J. Meyer and William Parent. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Goffman, Erving. 1963. Stigma. Notes on the management of spoiled identity. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  14. Habermas, Jürgen. 2001. Die Zukunft der menschlichen Natur. Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  15. LaFollette, Hugh. 2003. The Oxford handbook of practical ethics. Oxford and New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Luhmann, Niklas. 1965. Grundrechte als Institution. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot.Google Scholar
  17. Margalit, Avishai. 1996. The decent society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Nussbaum, Martha Craven. 2006. Frontiers of justice: Disability, nationality, species membership, the tanner lectures on human values. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Pöschl, Viktor. 1989. Der Begriff der Würde im antiken Rom und später. Heidelberg: Carl Winter Universitätsverlag.Google Scholar
  20. Rhodes, Rosamond, Leslie Francis, and Anita Silvers. 2007. The Blackwell guide to medical ethics. Malden, MA: Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Schiller, Friedrich. 2005. Don Carlos. Stuttgart: Reclam.Google Scholar
  22. Schulman, Adam. 2008. Bioethics and the question of human dignity. In Human dignity and bioethics, ed. President’s Council on Bioethics, 3–18. Washington, DC: President’s Council on Bioethics.Google Scholar
  23. Silver, Maury et al. 1986. Humiliation: Feeling, social control and the construction of identity. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 16(3): 269–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Spaemann, Robert. 1987 [1985]. Über den Begriff der Menschenwürde. In Das Natürliche und das Vernünftige, 77–106. München: Piper.Google Scholar
  25. Stepanians, Markus. 2003. Gleiche Würde, gleiche Rechte. In Menschenwürde – Annäherung an einen Begriff, ed. Ralf Stoecker, 81–103. Wien: Öbv & Hpt.Google Scholar
  26. Stoecker, Ralf. 2003. Menschenwürde und das Paradox der Entwürdigung. In Menschenwürde – Annäherung an einen Begriff, ed. Ralf Stoecker, 133–151. Wien: Öbv & Hpt.Google Scholar
  27. Temsch, Jochen. 1994. Das wird schon wieder. Die Zeit 25(11): 1994.Google Scholar
  28. Vögele, Wolfgang. 2000. Menschenwürde zwischen Recht und Theologie. Gütersloh: Chr. Kaiser.Google Scholar
  29. Von der Pfordten, Dietmar. 2006. Zur Würde des Menschen bei Kant. Jahrbuch für Recht und Ethik 14: 501–517.Google Scholar
  30. Waldron, Jeremy. 2007. Dignity and rank. European Journal of Sociology 48(2): 201–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of PotsdamPotsdamGermany

Personalised recommendations