Dignity, Human Dignity, and Dignified Conduct

Beryck Beyleveld and Roger Brownsword

in Human Dignity in Bioethics and Biolaw

Published in print July 1993 | ISBN: 9780198268260
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191683473 | DOI:

Series: Human Dignity in Bioethics and Biolaw

Dignity, Human Dignity, and Dignified Conduct

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This chapter discusses some of the competing conceptions of human dignity. An analysis of the idea of human dignity draws attention to the fact that there is a significant difference between our understanding of dignity in general and human dignity in particular. Dignity in general applies to all sorts of carriers, human and non-human, and indicates certain distinctive qualities which give them a rank above others that do not have these qualities. Dignity is a matter of degree. Human dignity refers to the minimum dignity which belongs to every human being qua human. It does not admit of any degrees. Another exclusive interpretation is the idea of dignity as the mark of a rank, such as the dignity of a king or a noble. From this tradition, there is a contrast between dignified (as befitting those of higher rank) and undignified conduct (as one might expect of those of lower rank).

Keywords: human dignity; dignity; dignified conduct; undignified conduct

Chapter.  10979 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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