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Dignity: A History

Author: Debes, Remy (Associate Professor of Phil
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 432
Pub Date: 03/07/2017
ISBN: 9780199386000
Availability: Out of Stock
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Quick overview In everything from philosophical ethics to legal argument to public activism, it has become commonplace to appeal to human dignity. Dignity refers to the fundamental moral worth or status supposedly belonging to all persons equally. But this is relatively new. In this volume, leading scholars across a range of disciplines attempt to clarify the variegated and murky history of "dignity," and explain how it arrived it is current and historically unusual meaning.
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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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