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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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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 26 February 2021

Which Dignity? Which Religious Freedom?

Which Dignity? Which Religious Freedom?

(p.421) 24 Which Dignity? Which Religious Freedom?
Understanding Human Dignity

Patrick Riordan

British Academy

This chapter engages in a debate about the grounding of religious liberty in human dignity. Ronald Dworkin emphasizes dignity as rooted in autonomy, and values religious freedom as the exercise of autonomy. But if this is its value, does religious freedom require separate mention apart from other freedoms? Can more be said to comprehend human dignity? And is there anything distinctive about religious freedom? Possible answers relying on a more ontological account, e.g. drawing on Martha Nussbaum’s Stoic philosophy, would have to be secured against charges of essentialism. At the same time the phenomenology of religious experience suggests that religion is not adequately understood as a choice. Because of its foundational nature and the architectonic role it plays in human lives, religion poses particular challenges for social order. Hence there are good grounds for maintaining a distinctive protection of religious liberty.

Keywords:   dignity, religious liberty, intellectualist emphasis, capacity for judgement, autonomy, ontology, essentialism, Dworkin, Nussbaum

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