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DignityA History$
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Remy Debes

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199385997

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199385997.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 July 2021

Equal Dignity and Rights

Equal Dignity and Rights

(p.181) Chapter 6 Equal Dignity and Rights

Stephen Darwall

Oxford University Press

The contemporary notion of human dignity is taken to ground the idea of human rights. This chapter investigates how dignity must be understood if it is to be capable of doing that. Beginning with earlier conceptions of dignity, both hierarchical conceptions of status and the Ciceronian idea of human beings in the “great chain of being,” the chapter argues that to be capable of grounding rights, dignity must include a fundamental second-personal authority for human beings to make claims and demands of one another. More specifically, it contests the idea, advanced by Jeremy Waldron and Anthony Appiah, that human dignity is best theorized within a conception of honor and status as elevating all persons to the same high status. Any such honored status fails to ground the fundamental authority to hold one another accountable that is necessary for a conception of human dignity that is capable of grounding human rights.

Keywords:   dignity, respect, second personal, authority, rights, equality, honor, accountability

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