Valerio Pocar

The Human Being: With or Without Dignity

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Human dignity - fundamental rights - ascribed dignity - perceived dignity -rhetorical use of dignity - respect for fundamental rights - bioethics.

The paper aims to contrast the rhetorical use of the concept of «human dignity», which can have many contradictory meanings and can be utilized for many different purposes, as some examples show clearly. After having underlined the risks of an objective definition of dignity based on arbitrary parameters which could allow the exclusion of some individuals when lacking of some characteristics, the author argues that the words «human dignity» add nothing to the very concept of human being and suggests to attribute to human beings, better than dignity, the fundamental rights which can be more precisely defined and less disputed and pertain to every human being just as such. The conclusion is that the very meaning of respecting human dignity lies in respecting everyone's fundamental rights.

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