Dignity: A History
In everything from philosophical ethics to legal argument to public activism, it has become commonplace to appeal to the idea of human dignity. In such contexts, the concept of dignity typically signifies something like the fundamental moral status belonging to all humans. Remarkably, however, it is only in the last century that this meaning of the term has become standardized. Before this, dignity was instead a concept associated with social status. Unfortunately, this transformation remains something of a mystery in existing scholarship. Exactly when and why did "dignity" change its meaning? And before this change, was it truly the case that we lacked a conception of human worth akin to the one that "dignity" now represents? In this volume, leading scholars across a range of disciplines attempt to answer such questions by clarifying the presently murky history of "dignity," from classical Greek thought through the Middle Ages and Enlightenment to the present day.
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Achilles Achilles’s Adam angels Aquinas argues argument Augustine Augustine’s axios bioethics body Bois’s Boisian sympathy bourgeois bourgeois dignity Cambridge University Press capacity Categorical Imperative century chapter Christ Christian Cicero claim classical concept of dignity contemporary context Crummell cultural Darwall debates Diderot dignity’s discussion Douglass duties emotion Encyclopédie equal Ethics Eumaeus example freedom God’s Greek Homeric honor human dignity human nature human rights idea Immanuel Kant individual inherent Islamic Jeremy Waldron justice Kant Kant’s Kantian kind Latin man’s Manetti Marx’s means medieval Mencius normative notion obligations Odysseus one’s Oxford University Press passage passions person Philoctetes philosophical Pico Pico’s political Priam Pufendorf question Qur’an rank rational reason Remy Debes Renaissance respect Rosen Rousseau Samuel Pufendorf second-personal sense slavery slaves social society sorrow songs soul Spectator status Stephen Darwall Stoic Summa theologiae thought tradition treatment unearned virtue words worth Würde York