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This book offers a critical analysis of the legal norm of human dignity as recently codified in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (EU Charter, 2009) and shows why a principled understanding of the notion of human dignity concerns every citizen. Through assessing both the philosophical and historical roots of the legal concept of human dignity, as well as the current application thereof by the courts, the author aims to contribute to a better understanding of this much used but little understood legal principle.
The combined philosophical and historical-personal analysis of the human dignity concept is conducted in a way that offers new perspectives not provided in existing books on human dignity and the law. By studying the fundamental roots of the concept in post-War thinking in combination with the historical study of the individual perpetrators and their reasoning for violating the dignity of other human beings, as well as a critical assessment of current human dignity legal practice and case law, the author offers new answers on how human dignity can be better protected today. The book shows how the protection of human dignity is not a distant legal concept, but a reality that concerns every human being every day on all levels of society. Human dignity is not just a worthy ideal to be pursued exclusively by philosophers and lawyers; it describes the core of what it means to be human.