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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: Experience and History, Practical Reason and Faith

Human Dignity: Experience and History, Practical Reason and Faith

(p.123) 6 Human Dignity: Experience and History, Practical Reason and Faith
Understanding Human Dignity

David Hollenbach

British Academy

This chapter argues that human dignity can be grounded in historical experiences of the violation and attainment of dignity, and through arguments based on practical (as opposed to theoretical) reason about how to advance respect for dignity and reduce its violation. It also presents theological warrants for human dignity based on Christian faith, and argues that reflection by practical reason on human experience interacts with these Christian religious beliefs in ways that have led the Catholic community to become an important advocate of human dignity in recent decades. Continued interaction of practical reason, human experience, and faith can enable the Catholic Church to work with other communities on behalf of human dignity in addressing new challenges today, perhaps leading the church to further historical development of its understanding of human dignity and rights in new technological and social contexts.

Keywords:   Catholicism, experience, freedom, historical development, human rights, image of God, need, practical reason, relationship, theology

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