E-seminar in Philosophy and Social Sciences
by Jaco Kruger
From 11th April to 6th June 2022
Course code: SEM71
ECTS Credits: 6Professor: Dr. Jaco Kruger
The expression “human dignity” is used very widely today, but it is also used in a wide variety of ways. Is the notion irrevocably vague and vacuous, or can it indeed perform serious philosophical and moral work? Can and should talk of dignity be extended beyond the human to other living and even non-living beings or institutions? Regardless of the positions taken on these questions, it must be acknowledged that implicit opinions about human dignity are present in many areas of life, society and culture. To enquire about human dignity is nothing less than to think philosophically about what it means to be human. This is of fundamental importance in the 21st century as humanity grapples with the fast pace of technological change, the huge inequalities present in the world, and the question of our place and role in the ecology of our planet.
- Demonstrate the wide variety of ways that human dignity enters contemporary public discourse.
- Motivate why a distinction between human dignity and personal dignity can contribute towards conceptual clarification.
- Show the application of both human dignity and personal dignity in addressing certain moral and philosophical challenges.
- Know the main historical and philosophical sources of the contemporary expression “human dignity”.
- Understand how a conceptual distinction between human dignity and personal dignity can address both the appeal to dignity as equality and the appeal to dignity as status.
- Understand the use of dignity language in philosophical, moral and legal contexts.
- Able to make and motivate a conceptual distinction between human dignity and personal dignity.
- Able to compare and contrast Christian and Kantian understandings of human personhood, as well as its role in the foundation of dignity.
- Able to bring the notion of human dignity to bear on issues involving humiliation, instrumentalization, and making superfluous, as well as the philosophical issues of posthumanism and transhumanism.