DOI link for Dignity
The notion of dignity, broadly understood as emotion implicated in basic rights and ways in which we are recognized by others, is a wide-ranging, difficult and elusive concept which has a long history, broad cross-cultural resonance and intuitive power. As the works on the concept of dignity as the general notion to ground human rights do not pose any questions about the nature of emotions connected with respect for or abuse of human dignity in everyday life, this chapter’s purpose is to fill this gap. It also tries, by examining how the principle of dignity, which prescribes respect for oneself and others as fellow human beings, translates itself to emotions, to overcome this concept’s lack of conceptual clarity, its ambivalences and openness to misinterpretation. The chapter discusses the tensions between reason and feelings at the roots of the notion of dignity by questioning the power of a Kantian reason as the foundation of dignity and Nussbaum’s ideas about whether dignity can rest on reason alone. By relying on works of fiction, it explores solutions to these tensions and show emotional bases of dignity as well as this notion’s ambivalences.