Σάββατο 19 Νοεμβρίου 2016

Dignity and Rights

Αποσπάσματα από ένα ΠΟΛΥ ενδιαφέρον κείμενο:

J. Waldron, "Dignity and Rank", in: J. Waldron, Dignity, Rank, and Rights - With Commentaries by W.C. Dimock, D. Herzog, M. Rosen) - Edited and Introduced by M. Dan-Cohen, Oxford University Press 2012.

"My subject is human dignity. Dignity, we will see, is a principle of morality and a principle of law. It is certainly a principle of the highest importance, and it ought to be something we can give a good philosophic account of." (p. 13)

"So, for example, the moral philosophers tell us that dignity is a matter of status. But status is a legal conception and not a simple one. Dignity, we are told, was once tied up with rank: the dignity of a king was not the same as the dignity of bishop and neither of them was the same as the dignity of a professor. If our modern conception of human dignity retains any scintilla of its ancient and historical connection with rank - and I think it does: I think it expresses the idea of the high and equal rank of every human person - then we should look first at the bodies of law that relate status to rank (and to right and privilege) and see what if anything is retained of these ancient conceptions when dignity is put to work in a new and egalitarian environment." (p. 14)

"So that is my hypothesis: the modern notion of human dignity involves an upwards equalization of rank, so that we now try to accord to every human being something of the dignity, rank, and expectation of respect that was formerly accorded to nobility." (p. 33)

"Something like this was noticed many years ago by Gregory Vlastos in a neglected essay, "Justice and Equality". In a discussion of equality and rights, Vlastos argued that we organize ourselves not like a society without nobility or rank, but like an aristocratic society that has just one rank (and pretty high rank at that) for all of us. Or (to vary the image slightly), we are not like a society that has eschewed all talk of caste; we are like a caste society with just one caste (and a very high caste at that). Every man a Brahmin. Every man a duke, every woman a queen, everyone's person and body sacrosanct, in the way that nobles were entitled to deference or in the way that an assault upon the body of the person of a king was regarded as a sacrilege. I take the Vlastos suggestion very seriously indeed. If he is right, then we can use aspects of the traditional meaning of dignity associated with high or noble rank, to cast light on our conceptions of human rights." (p. 34)

Χαίρομαι πολύ που το κείμενο αυτό μου έδωσε την αφορμή για να πληροφορηθώ σχετικά με τον (από Κωνσταντινούπολη) Gregory Vlastos, για τον οποίο δεν γνώριζα τίποτα.

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