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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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Discourses of Dignity

Discourses of Dignity

(p.637) 38 Discourses of Dignity
Understanding Human Dignity

Gerald L. Neuman

British Academy

The advantages of dialogue across disciplines concerning human dignity should not distract us from the reality that different intellectual disciplines have different discourses and methods. In particular, positive legal systems (which are plural, not singular) produce their own functional understandings of human dignity, and these understandings are influenced by consensual and institutional factors as well as moral (or ‘suprapositive’) factors. Philosophical and religious traditions can contribute insights to debates within the legal discourses, but those insights need to be rephrased into terms that are accessible to outsiders to those traditions. Such rephrasing is especially necessary at the level of the global human rights system, where all philosophical schools and all religions have minority status.

Keywords:   dialogue, discourse, functional understanding, institutions, legal, human rights systems

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