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Understanding Human Dignity$
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Christopher McCrudden

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265642

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265642.001.0001

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Human Dignity, Human Rights, and Simply Trying to Do the Right Thing

Human Dignity, Human Rights, and Simply Trying to Do the Right Thing

(p.345) 19 Human Dignity, Human Rights, and Simply Trying to Do the Right Thing
Understanding Human Dignity

Roger Brownsword

British Academy

In a context of rapidly emerging technologies, this chapter considers the bearing of human dignity on the regulatory environment. It opens by suggesting that one of the reasons why moral communities are now debating human dignity with such intensity is because of concerns arising from the rapid development of novel biotechnologies. Next, it considers how far it is possible to satisfy ideals of regulatory coherence when the regulation of emerging technologies hinges on our divided understanding of human dignity. Thirdly, it identifies two threats to human dignity that are immanent in modern regulatory thinking. One threat is a risk-management mentality that marginalizes (and possibly excludes) moral considerations; and the other is an over-reliance on technological instruments such that the complexion of the regulatory environment denies humans the opportunity to express their dignity.

Keywords:   human dignity, human rights, emerging technologies, regulatory coherence, risk-management, regulatory signals, the complexion of the regulatory environment, the virtue of doing the right thing

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