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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

Book of the Month

Cover of Goode on Commercial Law

Goode on Commercial Law

Edited by: Ewan McKendrick
Price: £170.00

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Dignity, Rank, and Rights

Edited by: Meir Dan-Cohen

ISBN13: 9780190235444
Published: March 2015
Publisher: Oxford University Press USA
Country of Publication: USA
Format: Paperback (Hardback in 2012)
Price: £12.49
Hardback edition , ISBN13 9780199915439

Low stock.

Writers on human dignity roughly divide between those who stress the social origins of this concept and its role in marking rank and hierarchy, and those who follow Kant in grounding dignity in an abstract and idealized philosophical conception of human beings. In these lectures, Jeremy Waldron contrives to combine attractive features of both strands.

In the first lecture, Waldron presents a conception of dignity that preserves its ancient association with rank and station, thus allowing him to tap rich historical resources while avoiding what many perceive as the excessive abstraction and dubious metaphysics of the Kantian strand. At the same time he argues for a conception of human dignity that amounts to a generalization of high status across all human beings, and so attains the appealing universality of the Kantian position.

The second lecture focuses particularly on the importance of dignity - understood in this way - as a status defining persons' relation to law: their presentation as persons capable of self-applying the law, capable of presenting and arguing a point of view, and capable of responding to law's demands without brute coercion. Together the two lectures illuminate the relation between dignity conceived as the ground of rights and dignity conceived as the content of rights; they also illuminate important ideas about dignity as noble bearing and dignity as the subject of a right against degrading treatment; and they help us understand the sense in which dignity is better conceived as a status than as a kind of value.

Meir Dan-Cohen
Dignity, Rank, and Rights
Jeremy Waldron
1. Dignity and Rank
2. Law, Dignity and Self-Control
Response to Jeremy Waldron
Wai Chee Dimock
Aristocratic Dignity?
Don Herzog
Dignity, Rank and Rights
Michael Rosen
Reply to Commentators
Jeremy Waldron