It stands to reason that a criterion is needed that can serve as a common denominator for weighing or assessing different values or ideals. Dignity is offered as a possible candidate, to be presented from religio-legal and cross-cultural vantages. A definition will be offered for dignity and its parts defended throughout the paper. The approach is not only not rigorously analytic – there are no case studies – but is instead a presentation of topic areas where we should expect to find the concept of dignity to be relevant. Utilizing a rights-moral and duties-ethical framework, it is in essence an argument for further elevating the prestige of dignity so that it might provide a widely-accepted groundwork for ethics and morality. .
dignity, honor, culture, virtue ethics, consequentialism, Kant
How to cite
Herrman, Charles. “What Is Dignity?” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 3, no. 3(9) (2019): 103-126. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2019.0033.
Adler, Mortimer J. We Hold These Truths: Understanding the Ideas and Ideals of the Constitution. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1987.
Alexis G.Y., and S. Pressman. “After Shame; Before Corporate Moral Obligation (CMO): Ethical Lag and the Credit Crisis.” International. Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy 4, No. 3/4 (2010): 244-266. https://doi.org/10.1504/IJMCP.2010.037811.
Bagaric, Mirko, and James Allan. “The Vacuous Concept of Dignity.” Journal of Human Rights 5 (2006): 257-270. https://doi.org/10.1080/14754830600653603.
Balsdon, J.P.V.D. Rome: The Story of an Empire. World University Library. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1970.
Baron, Marcia W. “Kantian Ethics.” In Three Methods of Ethics: A Debate, 3-91. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1997.
Barone, Fran. 2019. “Laissez les bon temps rouler: Mardi Gras and Cajun Traditions in eHRAF.” Human Relations Area Files: Cultural Information for Education and Research. https://hraf.yale.edu/laissez-les-bon-temps-rouler-mardi-gras-and-cajun-traditions-in-ehraf/.
Berger, Peter. 1983 . “On the Obsolescence of the Concept of Honor.” In Revisions: Changing Perspectives in Moral Philosophy, edited by Stanley Hauerwas and Alasdair MacIntyre, 172-181. Notre Dame: Notre Dame University Press.
Blair, Margaret M. 2013. “Personhood and the Corporate Persona.” University of Illinois Law Review 3 (2013): 785-820. https://ir.vanderbilt.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1803/6408/Corporate%20Personhood%20and%20the%20Corporate%20Persona.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y.
Bodenheimer, Edgar. Treatise on Justice. New York: Philosophical Library, 1967.
Bollier, David. Aiming Higher: 25 Stories of How Companies Prosper by Combining Sound Management and Social Vision. Chicago: American Management Association, 1996.
Bork, Robert H. The Tempting of America. New York: The Free Press, 1990.
Boulding Kenneth E. “Social Justice in Social Dynamics.” In Social Justice, edited by Richard B. Brandt, 73-92. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1962.
Bourdieu, Pierre. Outline of a Theory of Practice. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1977. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511812507.
Brennan Jr., William J. Speech given at the Text and Teaching Symposium, Georgetown University, October 12, 1985, Washington, D.C. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/supremecourt/democracy/sources_document7.html.
Du Mont, Alice and Deborah White. 2013. “Sexual Violence: What Does it Take for the World to Care About Women?” Journal of Public Health 35, no. 2 (2013): 182-184. https://academic.oup.com/jpubhealth/article/35/2/182/1547110. https://doi.org/10.1093/pubmed/fdt045.
Dworkin, Ronald. Taking Rights Seriously. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1977.
Gewirth, Alan. “Political Justice.” In Social Justice, edited by Richard B. Brandt, 119-169. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1962.
Gewirth, Alan. Reason and Morality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.
Gilens, Martin and Benjamin I. Page. “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens.” Perspectives on Politics 12, no. 3 (September 2014): 564-581. https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1537592714001595.
Gold, Anthony. “Promises that Do Not Count – Reliance in Proprietary Estoppel.” Lexology 9 (March 2015). https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=527ca517-d9d5-4859-87cc-9c1d9ad34d83.
Goode, William J. The Celebration of Heroes: Prestige as a Control System. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978.
Goodspeed, Scott W. Community Stewardship: Applying the Five Principles of Contemporary Governance. Chicago: AHA Press, 1998.
Graeber, David. 2011. Debt: The First 5000 Years. Brooklyn: Melville House, 2011.
Hart, H.L.A. The Concept of Law. Second Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 1961.
Herrman, Charles S. “A New Cultural Binary Assessed Through Content Analysis.” SSRN (2010). https://ssrn.com/abstract=1557835. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1557835.
Herrman, Charles S. “Culture Theory Matters.” African Journal of Social Science and Humanities Research 1, no. 1 (August 2018): 1-25. https://abjournals.org/african-journal-of-social-sciences-and-humanities-research-ajsshr/wp-content/uploads/sites/9/journal/published_paper/volume-1/issue-1/AJSSHR_H0TWDCT6.pdf.
Herrman, Charles S. “The Cult of Honor.” Global Journals Human and Social Sciences (C) 17, no. 1 (2017): 1-21. https://globaljournals.org/item/6726-the-cult-of-honor.
Herrman, Charles S. “The Cult of Dignity.” English Linguistics Research 6, no. 2 (2017): 1-15. DOI:10.5430/elr.v6n2p1. For pdf google “The Cult of Dignity – Sciedu Press”. https://doi.org/10.5430/elr.v6n2p1.
Horwitz, Morton J. The Transformation of American Law 1870-1960. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
James, William. Pragmatism. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1981.
Johnson, Lyman. “Law and Legal Theory in the History of Corporate Responsibility: Corporate Personhood.” Seattle University Law Review 35, no. 1521 (2012): 1521-1550. SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2070939.
Kamir, Orit. “Honor and Dignity in the Film Unforgiven: Implications for Sociolegal Theory.” Law & Society Review 40 (2006): 193-233. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5893.2006.00263.x.
Kant, Immanuel. On the Metaphysics of Morals and Ethics. Radford, VA: A & D publishing, 2008.
Kant, Immanuel. The Metaphysics of Morals. Edited by Mary Gregor. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511809644.
Larsen, T. H., Neal M. Williams, and Claire Kremen. “Extinction Order and Altered Community Structure Rapidly Disrupt Ecosystem Functioning.” Ecology Letters 8 (2005): 538-547. https://nature.berkeley.edu/kremenlab/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Extinction-order-and-altered-community-structure-rapidly-disrupt-ecosystem-functioning.pdf. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2005.00749.x.
MacIntyre, Alasdair. After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984.
MacIntyre, Alasdair. A Short History of Ethics. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1966.
Mauss, Marcel. The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies. Translated by W.D. Halls. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1990.
McDougal, M.S., H. D. Lasswell, and Lung-chu Chen. Human Rights and World Public Order: The Basic Policies of an International Law of Dignity. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018.
Melville, Herman. Typee. Herefordshire, UK. Wordsworth Editions Limited, 1994.
Moffat, Graham. Trusts Law. Fifth Edition. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511840517.
Nasciento, Amos, and Matthias Lutz-Bachmann, eds. Human Dignity: Perspectives from a Critical Theory of Human Rights. New York: Routledge, 2018. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315468297.
Pettit, Philip. “The Consequentialist Perspective.” In Three Methods of Ethics: A Debate, 92-174. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1997.
Pinker, Stephen. “The Stupidity of Dignity: Conservative Bioethics’ Latest, Most Dangerous Ploy.” The New Republic, May 28, 2008. http://www.tnr.com/article/the-stupiditydignity.
Raphael, D.D., and A. L. Macfie, eds. The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1976.
Rawls, John. A Theory of Justice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971.
Read, Herbert. Art and Industry: The Principles of Industrial Design. Bloomington: The University of Indiana Press, 1961.
Rosen, Michael. Dignity: Its History and Meaning. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2012. https://doi.org/10.4159/harvard.9780674065512.
Sapolsky, Robert. Behavior: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst. London: Vintage, 2017.
Selden, John. Table Talk. Second Edited. Edited by John Russell Smith. London: John Russel Smith, 1856. https://ia800209.us.archive.org/33/items/tabletalkofjohns00seldiala/tabletalkofjohns00seldiala.pdf.
Sessions, William Lad. Honor for Us: A Philosophical Analysis, Interpretation and Defense. Maiden Lane, NY: Continuum Books, 2010.
Slote, Michael. From Morality to Virtue. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
Slote, Michael. “Virtue Ethics.” In Three Methods of Ethics: A Debate, 174-238. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1997.
Smith, Sir William and Sir John Lockwood, eds. Chambers-Murray Latin-English Dictionary. London: John Murray, 1997.
United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 1948. https://www.jus.uio.no/lm/en/pdf/un.universal.declaration.of.human.rights.1948.portrait.letter.pdf.
Veblen, Thorstein. The Instinct of Workmanship. New York: W. W. Norton, 1964.
Vlastos, Gregory. “Justice and Equality”. In Social Justice, edited by Richard B. Brandt, 31-72. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1962.
Whitehead, Alfred North. The Function of Reason. Boston: Beacon Press, 1929.
Whitehead, Alfred North. Science and the Modern World. New York: The Free Press, 1953 .
Williams, Evan Gregg. “Ethics Under Moral Neutrality.” Phd diss., New Brunswick Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 2011.
Open Access Statement
This is an open access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author, as long as the author and original source are properly cited. This is in accordance with the BOAI definition of open access.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Submitting a text to Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture means that the author agrees with the general conditions of this license without losing his or her copyright to the text.