Human Dignity - Social Justice and Gender Equity
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights begins with “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” But what does “human dignity” mean, and does this concept really matter in the worlds of diplomacy, foreign aid, international and domestic policy, and concerns about gender equity and social justice? How have notions of human dignity changed since Aristotle and Cicero? How does dignity link to human rights, global climate change, leadership, status, grace, and other ethical concepts? Is dignity something that you are born with, something that you can lose, or something that you have to earn? Are we cheapening the notion of human dignity – and its effectiveness in public policy – by overusing it in our rhetoric? Without some consensus on a moral and philosophical foundation for dignity, and some more precision in its meaning, is dignity quickly becoming a useless notion? Or, to the contrary, is dignity an essential baseline for public policy.
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