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Ernesto Garzón Valdés

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The moral relevance of the human dignity concept

There is a very abundant literature regarding the concept of human dignity, as well as a great number of appeals to the dignity of people in national and international law texts. As it is common in these cases, the bibliographical richness does not include any basic agreement on the meaning of this concept. In this seminary we will discuss two theses that assert that the concept of human dignity, as well as the human rights, either presupposes a value judgment whose correction cannot be argued rationally, or is only susceptible to a culturally conditioned intersubjective rationale. We will briefly remind Kant's conception of the human dignity; we will present a real example of a situation where it is clear to what point the dignity of people can be injured when the life or death of innocents is at stake, and finally, we will propose a possible focus to highlight the moral relevance of the human dignity concept.

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