Human Dignity

ISBN-10: 0674284178

ISBN-13: 9780674284173

Edition: 2014

Authors: George Kateb
List price: $20.50
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Description: We often speak of the dignity owed to a person. And dignity is a word that regularly appears in political speeches. Charters are promulgated in its name, and appeals to it are made when people all over the world struggle to achieve their rights. But what exactly is dignity? When one person physically assaults another, we feel the wrong demands immediate condemnation and legal sanction. Whereas when one person humiliates or thoughtlessly makes use of another, we recognize the wrong and hope for a remedy, but the social response is less clear. The injury itself may be hard to quantify.Given our concern with human dignity, it is odd that it has received comparatively little scrutiny. Here, George Kateb asks what human dignity is and why it matters for the claim to rights. He proposes that dignity is an existential value that pertains to the identity of a person as a human being. To injure or even to try to efface someone s dignity is to treat that person as not human or less than human as a thing or instrument or subhuman creature. Kateb does not limit the notion of dignity to individuals but extends it to the human species. The dignity of the human species rests on our uniqueness among all other species. In the book s concluding section, he argues that despite the ravages we have inflicted on it, nature would be worse off without humanity. The supremely fitting task of humanity can be seen as a stewardship of nature. This secular defense of human dignity the first book-length attempt of its kind crowns the career of a distinguished political thinker.

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Book details

List price: $20.50
Copyright year: 2014
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 3/31/2014
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.484
Language: English

George Kateb is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics, Emeritus, Princeton University.

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