This book aims to reject theoretical approaches that ground human rights in a notion of dignity, understood in terms of an equal rank, transcendental/spiritual quality and/or human capacity for rational agency. It argues instead that the idea of human rights should be grounded in a fundamental moral right of each person not to be treated as inferior. It defends this argument with reference to a substantive account of what it means to be treated as inferior in the relevant sense—dehumanization, instrumentalization, infantilization, objectification and stigmatization—combined with an account of when and why these are wrong. The book says that they are wrong: if and because they are cruel; if and because these forms of treatment affect a person’s capacity to present and to define themselves, as themselves, within a social community; and if and because they occur without meaningful consent. The book applies these ideas to non-discrimination rights; claims that the ideas provide people and states with reasons to create and to maintain an international human rights system; and argues the moral rights explored in the book are “fundamental” (which Sangiovanni defines in a way that is marginally different from Shue’s (1996) definition of “basic” rights: rights that are structurally necessary for other rights).
Karp, David Jason
"Humanity Without Dignity: Moral Equality, Respect, and Human Rights,"
International Dialogue: Vol. 8, Article 13.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/id-journal/vol8/iss1/13
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