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Human Dignity, Human Rights, and Responsibility

The New Language of Global Bioethics and Biolaw

Yechiel Michael Barilan

Publication Year: 2012

A novel and multidisciplinary exposition and theorization of human dignity and rights, brought to bear on current issues in bioethics and biolaw.

Published by: The MIT Press


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Title Page, Copyright

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Series Foreword

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p. xi

Glenn McGee and I developed the Basic Bioethics series and collaborated as series coeditors from 1998 to 2008. In fall 2008 and spring 2009 the series was reconstituted, with a new Editorial Board, under my sole editorship. I am pleased to present the thirty-second book in the series...

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pp. xiii-xiv

In 2007 I benefited from an Erasmus Mundus visiting scholar grant with the Erasmus Mundus Master of Bioethics that allowed me to take a short sabbatical in Padua. My host, Professor Corrado Viafora, asked me to give a talk on human dignity in Judaism at a study day celebrating the...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-22

In comparison to numerous publications on these topics, this book is special for combining history with applied ethics, for dealing comprehensively both with human dignity and human rights, and for distinguishing human rights from broader issues of justice, good, and...

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2. Hermeneutics and the History of Human Dignity

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pp. 23-92

This chapter is divided into four main parts. The first proffers a bird’s-eye view of a few milestones in the maturation of the instrument of human rights. The second part consists of the full text of the key passages from the Hebrew Bible (i.e., the creation of Adam, the covenant with...

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3. Reconstructing Human Dignity as a Moral Value

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pp. 93-147

In this chapter I explicate a philosophical theory of human dignity and offer a descriptive definition of the term. Such a definition lies in between a rigidly logical specification and a looser fanning out of the relevant “language games” and their conceptual ecology. The latter refers to the...

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4. Human Rights or Natural Moral Rights

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pp. 149-206

James Griffin recently observed that “we do not yet have a clear enough idea of what human rights are” (Griffin 2008, 1). But a rough sketch does exist. Human rights address urgent and very important moral concerns that are practically or potentially relevant to all humans. Whenever...

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5. Moral Status

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pp. 207-260

The purpose of this chapter is to examine who might be a beneficiary of moral rights and under what conditions. Ordinarily, authors construct their answers to these questions on metaphysical and theological considerations, such as intelligence, capacity to suffer, and ensoulment. My...

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6. Responsibility beyond Human Rights

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pp. 261-293

This chapter is dedicated to examining dignity-related values that are not governable by human rights. One group of such values pertains to relationships that involve claims on the body and person of others. These are relationships of intimacy, such as between parents and children...

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7. A Synthetic Summary

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pp. 295-302

In this book I have surveyed the historical development of “human dignity” as a normative value. Following this survey and insights from philosophy, anthropology, and psychology I explicated a philosophical theory of human dignity. Then a theory of human rights was established...


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pp. 303-333


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pp. 335-349

Basic Bioethics Series

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pp. 351-352

E-ISBN-13: 9780262305815
Print-ISBN-13: 9780262017978

Page Count: 368
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 812533709
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Human Dignity, Human Rights, and Responsibility

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Subject Headings

  • Respect for persons.
  • Bioethics.
  • Medical ethics.
  • Human rights.
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