Article

Human Dignity and Autonomy in Modern Constitutional Orders

Matthias Mahlmann

in The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Constitutional Law

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199578610
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199578610.013.0020

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law

Human Dignity and Autonomy in Modern Constitutional Orders

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The controversy around human dignity as a foundational concept for the law in general and constitutionalism in particular is no superficial affair. To find a way out of this maze, this article first discusses the problems of the method and theory of comparative legal perspectives and the core issue to which they lead: the antinomy of practical universalism and theoretical relativism of human rights. It then sketches some relevant aspects of the history of the idea of human dignity. The discussion then turns to the content of human dignity and its doctrinal unfolding as a legal concept. Finally, some tentative remarks are made on the deeper cultural and political issues at stake.

Keywords: human dignity; constitutionalism; comparative law; practical universalism; relativism; human rights

Article.  16918 words. 

Subjects: Law ; Comparative Law ; Constitutional and Administrative Law

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