New York University Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers

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Among analytic philosophers, there is considerable antipathy towards the concept of human dignity. It is not always expressed, but the impression is conveyed that this is a rather disreputable idea and that its trumpeting in legal and political theory is to be deplored. The present paper tries to get to grips with the sources of this antipathy. Is it based on the unclarity of the concept, its religious overtones, its speciesism, or its redundancy as a moral idea. The paper makes a case for dignity as a status-concept -- denoting a particular sort of moral/legal status that all humans have.

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definition, dignity, foundationalism, human dignity, religion, rights