Kant’s Idea of Human Dignity: Between Tradition and Originality

Kant Studien 106 (1):97-106 (2015)
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This paper focuses on the relationship between Kant and the traditional view of dignity. I argue that some amendments to Sensen’s description of the traditional paradigm enable us to see more clearly both where Kant adheres to the latter and where his view is original. First, a consideration of Pufendorf’s use of dignity suggests (1) that, contrary to Sensen’s reconstruction, the traditional paradigm does not entail a connection between dignity and duties to oneself, and (2) that Pufendorf’s understanding of dignity as a kind of esteem, as opposed to price, provides a crucial mediation between the traditional view and Kant’s view. Finally, I argue that the traditional understanding of dignity also includes a subordinate justificatory element that helps to explain Kant’s use of dignity in the Doctrine of Virtue.

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Stefano Bacin
Università degli Studi di Milano

Citations of this work

Kant's moral philosophy.Robert N. Johnson - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Kantian Ethics, Dignity and Perfection.Paul Formosa - 2017 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kant and the Second Person.Janis David Schaab - 2021 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 7 (4):494-513.
Kant on Human Dignity reconsidered.Oliver Sensen - 2015 - Kant Studien 106 (1):107-129.
Dignity and the Paradox of Method.Patrick Kain - 2017 - In Elke Elisabeth Schmidt & Robinson dos Santos (eds.), Realism and Antirealism in Kant's Moral Philosophy: New Essays. De Gruyter. pp. 67-90.

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References found in this work

Kant on respect, dignity, and the duty of respect.Stephen Darwall - 2008 - In Monika Betzler (ed.), Kant's Ethics of Virtues. De Gruyter. pp. 175-200.
Pufendorf on Natural Equality, Human Dignity, and Self-Esteem.Kari Saastamoinen - 2010 - Journal of the History of Ideas 71 (1):39-62.

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