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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 Rights, Human Dignity,and Human Experience

Human Rights, Human Dignity,and Human Experience

(p.615) 36 Human Rights, Human Dignity,and Human Experience
Understanding Human Dignity

Paolo G. Carozza

British Academy

The contested understandings of human dignity today make it very problematic as a reliable principle for determining the scope and merit of particular claims of human rights (at least beyond the principle’s narrow, universally agreed-upon core meaning). Merely relying on an overlapping consensus is insufficient. Nevertheless, the beginnings of a broader shared understanding of the meaning and implications of human dignity, as a foundational principle of human rights law, can emerge from our concrete experience. As a common point of reference for critically evaluating and integrating the diversity of instantiations of human rights in differing legal traditions, the elementary experience of human dignity leads us to regard law as a vehicle for sustained and reasoned reflection on the value of human persons and on the scope of our obligations to respect and protect them.

Keywords:   human rights, human dignity, human experience

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