Understanding Human Dignity
In debates on torture, abortion, same-sex marriage, and welfare reform, appeals to human dignity are seldom hard to find. And the concept of dignity is not only a prominent feature of political debate, but also, and increasingly, of legal argument. Indeed, courts tell us that human dignity is the foundation of all human rights. But the more important it is, the more contested it seems to have become. There has, as a result, been an extraordinary explosion of scholarly writing about the concept of human dignity in law, political philosophy, and theology.
Christopher McCrudden discussed these issues within the framework of his book Understanding Human Dignity (2014), which aims to reflect on intra-disciplinary debates about dignity in law, philosophy, history, politics, and theology. A panel of experts participated in a discussion about the themes that have emerged from McCrudden's work. David Hollenbach, S.J., moderated the discussion.