Dignity

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Dignity is a concept that every human has a inherent right to respect and fair treatment according to human moral laws, and that human life is more valuable than material goods. On the other hand, greed, violence, and cruelty seem to happen daily, and one cannot help but wonder which of these contrasting ideas is the true human nature. My personal approach to dignity is that it is a natural part of man and that it is one of the factors that discriminates men from animals, and a factor in making human life invaluable. In support of my argument, I will use the stance of Immanuel Kant. Kant discriminates between value – a material concept whose worth is measured in material goods, and dignity - the value of human life, that cannot be measured in material goods, i.e. its value is infinite. This distinction also implies that, while material values are relative, and subjective, dignity has an inherent and absolute value. This comes from the fact that dignity, unlike things with relative value, has no higher purpose but is serves itself. „Act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means, but always at the same time as an end” Not all living things posses dignity. Only beings that posses rational thoughts are able of possessing dignity, because they are conscious and spiritual beings. This might seem as circular reasoning, but Kant states that dignity is imposed on those able to grasp it. Another crucial part of Kant’s views is that men have free agency, and that from our ability to make choices independently, we obtain our dignity and thus morality. Kant also stated that disrespect and actions against moral laws lead to the loss of dignity.The work of Alan Gewirth expands on the idea of dignity by adding the dimension of duty. Gewirth states that man is not only to avoid doing harm to other people, but is to help others as well. Here we see that one is not only to view his dignity as a...
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