Dignity: Its History and Meaning
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Dignity: Its History and Meaning

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  14 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Dignity plays a central role in current thinking about law and human rights, but there is sharp disagreement about its meaning. Combining conceptual precision with a broad historical background, Michael Rosen puts these controversies in context and offers a novel, constructive proposal.

Drawing on law, politics, religion, and culture, as well as philosophy, Rosen shows how...more
Hardcover, 200 pages
Published March 20th 2012 by Harvard University Press
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Grady McCallie
In this short, thoughtful work, Michael Rosen attempts to show that 'dignity' is a philosophically coherent and useful concept. Rosen identifies several strands in dignity's historic and current meaning -- as social status; as inherent value; as behavior that is dignified; and as a constraint placed on behavior to ensure that it respects another person (whether as a duty to that person, or a duty by the actor). The author discusses German legal cases interpreting dignity as a fundamental right,...more
"Rosen, a political philosopher at Harvard with whom I edited The Oxford Handbook of Continental Philosophy a number of years ago, traces the history of the idea of “dignity” from its origins in aristocratic cultures through its re-appropriation and re-invention in the work of the philosopher Immanuel Kant and the tradition of Catholic social thought, to its central role in domestic and international law today. He demonstrates that the concept, despite its varied history, has more coherence and...more
Preston Carter
Excellent discussion of the topic of dignity; I feel like it was a bit biases in its beginning discussion of Schopenhauer, maybe for some rhetorical effect, but I thought the Kantian, Duty, Utilitarian analysis was really useful for me as I am just beginning to understand the system of thought that is Kant while work my head around pieces I don't so much agree with. He raises a number of good examples which I feel explicate his points well. Nice short read full of stuff, and, I think, a nice per...more
Braxton Lewis
In ethics and political life, issues of philosophical principle press on us whether we like it or not. Many appeals to dignity are either vague restatements of other, more precise notions or mere slogans that add nothing to the understanding of the topic; this text adds plenty. Dignity originated as a concept that denoted high social status and the honors and respectful treatment that are due to someone who occupied that position. However its use and interpretation now varies widely.
Margaret Sankey
From a political theorist, an exploration of the concept of dignity, with lively examples as broadly ranging as dwarf-tossing and Rerum Novarum, the UN Declaration of Human Rights and Brazilian short skirts, subversive humor and lese-majeste, the precise situations in which the German police can knock you down in the name of public good and fatwas against political cartoons, with mandatory visits to Kant and Pico della Mirandola.
I really enjoyed reading this. It provokes good questions about the meaning of "dignity" particularly in Catholic, Kantian, and German legal contexts.
John P. Davidson
Essentially a long essay, beautifully composed, on dignity, its meaning, and how it affects different aspects of our lives.
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Michael E. Rosen is a British political philosopher who is active in the traditions of analytic philosophy and continental European intellectual thought. He is currently a professor at Harvard University.

Rosen holds a B.A. in philosophy, awarded in 1974, and a D.Phil. awarded in 1980, both from Balliol College, Oxford. Prior to joining Lincoln College, Oxford, he served as a lecturer in politics a...more
More about Michael Rosen...
Political Thought (Oxford Readers) The quest for authenticity - The Thought of Reb Simhah Bunim Hegel's Dialectic and Its Criticism On Voluntary Servitude: False Consciousness and the Theory of Ideology The Oxford Handbook of Continental Philosophy

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