Human dignity, biolaw, and the basis of moral community
Authors: Brownsword, R.
Journal: Journal de Medecine Legale Droit Medical
This paper argues that the concept of human dignity, as currently contested, offers no clear guidance to lawmakers. Within the "bioethical triangle", human dignity has a quite different significance depending upon whether one is a utilitarian, a human rights theorist, or a dignitarian. Having rejected the possibility of an easy accommodation between these views, it is suggested that we should conceive of human dignity as a precondition for (any form of) moral community - specifically, a setting in which humans try to do the right thing and accept responsibility for their freely chosen actions. If lawmakers re-focus on human dignity in this way, they will have some important guidance in the face of a raft of emerging technologies.
Preferred by: Roger Brownsword