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

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


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.


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.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of PotsdamPotsdamGermany

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