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A response to Nordenfelt's 'Varieties of Dignity'

Edgar, Andrew Robert ORCID: 2004. A response to Nordenfelt's 'Varieties of Dignity'. Health Care Analysis 12 (2) , pp. 83-89. 10.1023/B:HCAN.0000041184.82006.8b

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I respond to Lennart Nordenfelt's analysis of dignity by questioning his attempt to establish an objective standard by which dignity can be determined. I approach this by considering the way in which claims to dignity may be contested and defended. This leads, in the cases of dignity of merit and dignity of moral status, to an apparent relativism. This relativism is checked by further consideration of dignity of identity, and in particular by consideration of the nature of the processes that serve to humiliate people. It is suggested that acts of humiliation attack certain competences that human beings develop as embodied, social beings. Menschenwürde may then be articulated as an account of human nature, in terms of the human potential to develop a series of core competences. This account of human nature aspires to universality, and as such offers an objective ground to dignity. This paper is a product of the research project on Dignity and Older Europeans (Fifth Framework (Quality of Life) Programme, Contract No QLG6, 2001, 00888).

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 1065-3058
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2022 09:36

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