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Understanding Human Dignity

Oxford University Press
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Understanding Human Dignity aims to help the reader make sense of current debates about the meaning and implications of the idea of human dignity, a concept that has probably never been so omnipresent in everyday speech, or so deeply embedded in political and legal discourse. In many of the central debates of our time (such as those concerning torture, abortion, same-sex marriage, global justice, human rights, and welfare reform), appeals to dignity are prominently on display. The concept of dignity is not only a frequent feature of political debate, but also, and increasingly, of legal argument. Indeed, courts tell us that human dignity is the foundation of all human rights. But the more important it is, the more contested it seems to have become. There has, as a result, been an extraordinary explosion of recent scholarly writing about the concept of human dignity. This book aims to reflect on current debates about human dignity in law, philosophy, history, politics, and theology, through a series of original essays from specialists in these fields, exploring this contested concept in its full richness and complexity. (Publisher)