Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What is the nature of human dignity?

I'm becoming more intrigued by the possibility of articulating some widely accessible and legally relevant content within the concept of human dignity.  In that vein, I was struck by this passage from David Luban's new book, Legal Ethics and Human Dignity:

"I suspect that human dignity is not a metaphysical property of individual humans, but rather a property of relationships between humans -- between, so to speak, the dignifier and the dignified.  To put it another way, 'human dignity' designates a way of being human, not a property of being human."

This reminded me of the following passage from Gaudium et spes:

"God did not create man as a solitary, for from the beginning 'male and female he created them.'  Their companionship produces the primary form of interpersonal communion.  For by his innermost nature man is a social being, and unless he relates himself to others he can neither live nor develop his potential."

Still, does (or should) Catholic legal theory be open to approaching human dignity as a "way of being human," rather than as a "property of being human?"


Vischer, Rob | Permalink

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