Space limitations preclude a full discussion of long-standing arguments about the distinction between persons and members of the human natural kind. Those who strive to build up the attributed dignity of patients suffering from PCU have already conceded that there is such a thing as intrinsic dignity by the very fact that they show concern for these patients. It is not bestowed by persons or institutions and does not derive meaning from any human action or status: it is a gift given and universally shared. Somatic cell nuclear transfer depends on the pre-existence of members of the human natural kind from which the clones would be derived. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., says he learned from his grandmother, who told him, "Martin, don't let anyone ever tell you that you're not a somebody. In this essay I will, first, describe three ways the word "dignity" has been used in moral discourse, both in the history of Western thought and in contemporary bioethics. P-V. A duty to be respectful of the intrinsic value of all other natural kinds. As Germain Grisez37 and Robert P. George38 have pointed out, however, this argument is totally specious. Used this way, dignity designates a value not conferred or created by human choices, individual or collective, but is prior to human attribution. See Noah M. Lemos, "Value Theory," in Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, 33. What relationship does this discussion have to dignity? Instrumental values, however, are best characterized as a subclass of attributed values. The argument from inflorescent dignity suggests, however, that the value of the human is expressed most fully (i.e., flourishes) in the ability to stand up to such assaults with courage, humble acceptance of the finitude of the human, nobility, and even love. They often become disfigured. Arguments opposing this practice on the basis of respect for human dignity have been vigorously attacked in the bioethics literature as vacuous. Bioethics is the study of the ethical issues emerging from advances in biology and medicine. Its chromosomes are only of paternal origin, and these are abnormally imprinted, even if the DNA sequence is totally human. Hobbes writes clearly and bluntly. The introduction of various reproductive technologies into clinical medicine has worried many observers for many years, but few have articulated these worries carefully. [4] Gilbert Meilaender, Neither Beast Nor God: the Dignity of the Human Person (New York: New Atlantis Books, 2009), 96. This seems obviously wrong. While it may be clear what bioethics entails, the concept of Human Dignity may be somewhat unclear or problematic to define. Intrinsic values and attributed values are asymmetrically related. The argument from consistency is an alternative means of reaching the conclusion that intrinsic dignity is the primary moral sense of dignity. A more careful treatment of the topic is in order. In so doing, I stressed the importance of the conception of natural kinds to all three senses of dignity. [3] Soulen and Woodhead, “Introduction,” 19. Josephinum Journal of Theology 4 (1997): 13-24. We do not bestow dignity because we first bestow rights. I call these the attributed, the intrinsic, and the inflorescent uses of the word. Cicero, De Officiis I.106, trans. 7. Intrinsic value inheres in natural kinds, since artifacts have only attributed, and not intrinsic, value. An artifact's value is purely instrumental and attributed. There exist several distinctions within the semantic domain of human dignity which must be recognized. To define human dignity is ultimately to describe the meaning of being human[9] and to acknowledge and respect one’s place in the human community. It is the value one has by virtue of being the kind of thing that one is-a member of the human natural kind. However, some commentators, especially those who would For him, to have dignity was to have a merited degree of respect from others because of one's excellence as a human being. Ethics 109 (1999): 605-628. Judith Thompson has argued that "a fetus is no more a human being than an acorn is an oak tree. Attributed, intrinsic, and inflorescent conceptions of dignity are often at play in the same situation. Daniel P. Sulmasy, "Dignity, Rights, Health Care, and Human Flourishing," in Human Rights and Health Care , ed. Dignity, on this view, is the value we give to entities that actively express a capacity for rational choice. Thus the conception of dignity presented here provides a normative basis for determining what it means for a society to distribute health care resources justly. Yet each has been taken as the central basis for particular moral claims in bioethics. First, I explained that the extensional logic of natural kinds dictates that one first pick out an individual as a member of a kind by including it under the extension provided by one or two representative samples of the kind, backed by a full understanding of the typical history, the development, and the law-like generalizations that characterize members of that kind. National 14. They fail to see how arguments that would lead to the moral legitimization of practices such as infanticide24 and experimentation upon permanently unresponsive patients without their consent25 need to be regarded as reductio ad absurdum refutations of their position. Timothy E. Quill, "Death and Dignity: A Case of Individualized Decision Making," New England Journal of Medicine 324 (1991): 691-694. Accordingly, the concept of disease necessarily includes reference to the adverse effects of the condition on the flourishing of the affected individual. This relationship between dignity and rights is even stronger in the field of bioethics, which deals directly with some of the most basic human rights, such … However, a different set of considerations arises in examining the morality of cloning to bring babies to birth. The lack of respect for human life that was present in the development of the technique of IVF has persisted in the way that human embryos are treated by those who practice the technique today. Thus, such an individual would be a member of the human natural kind and would still have intrinsic dignity. They lose their social productivity. 34. Typically, this attributed value is instrumental. In the end, only a theological anthropology can give us an absolute concept of dignity, one that applies to all humans in all circumstances and conditions and can justify our responsibility toward one another. In Kantian terminology, these rights entail duties of imperfect obligation. P-IV. The word "dignity" has become something of a slogan in bioethics, often invoked by both sides of debates about a variety of scientific and clinical issues, supporting contradictory conclusions. It is what every human being is (or was) at 0-28 days of development. Charles Trinkaus, "The Renaissance Idea of the Dignity of Man," in Dictionary This is due to the fact that the concept of human dignity is open to abuse in that it oversimplifies complex issues and encourages a form of paternalism incompatible with the very spirit of self-determination that lies at the heart of International Human Rights. We can even attribute worth or value to ourselves using this word. The meaning of the human good is not exhausted by the exercise of free choice. It is in recognition of that worth that we have established the healing professions as our moral response to those of our kind who are suffering from disease and injury. This explains why empirical projects designed to understand dignity by asking each in a collection of individuals to describe "what dignity means to me," while well-intended, are profoundly misguided.28 Morality seems to depend upon our mutual commitment to knowing that each of us has dignity before we open our mouths and explain our notions of dignity to each other. In reality, the term “human dignity” is not as ambiguous as it is complex because the human component of the term is a multidimensional being defying definition, a creature of in-betweenness, who exists somewhere between the beasts and God. I will argue that the intrinsic notion of dignity is foundational from a moral point of view. Kripke, in his two essays, "Identity and Necessity," in Identity and Individuation Kant, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals , Ak 421, p. 30. In this book, Michael Barilan offers an urgently needed, nonideological, and thorough conceptual clarification of human dignity and human rights, relating these ideas to current … Thus we say that racism is an offense against human dignity. Thus, one waters a rosemary bush and assures that it has proper sunlight. I manufacture a mobile telephone because telephones have an instrumental value to me that is enhanced by making that instrumental value portable. We define a banana as a yellow fruit. Second, I showed that each of the candidate characteristics one might suggest, by intensional logic, as the dignity-conferring characteristic, leads to gross inconsistencies when applied universally, clashing with our most deeply held moral views. They are incapable of expressing courage, or honor, or even understanding their predicaments. also Michael J. Zimmerman, "Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Value," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2004 edition), ed. See Sulmasy, "Death, Dignity, and the Theory of Value." We pick them out as members of the human natural kind as a precondition for our judgment that they are severely ill. Attributed values depend completely on the purposes, beliefs, desires, interests, or expectations of a valuer or group of valuers. CBHD, a Christian bioethics research center at Trinity International University (Deerfield, IL), aims to bring clarity to the complex issues at the intersection of medicine, science, and technology with our individual and shar… Velleman's answer is that we seek to protect and promote a fellow human being's interests because we first respect the human being whose interests they are.30 This fundamental respect is for intrinsic dignity-the "interest-independent" value of a human being. Leon R. Kass, Life, Liberty and the Defense of Dignity: The Challenge for Bioethics Nonetheless, the value to which this use of the word refers is not intrinsic, since it depends upon a prior understanding of the intrinsic value of the human. As David Velleman has argued, from an ethical point of view, there must be something more fundamental to ethics than interests-i.e., a reason to respect a fellow human being's interests in the first place. It is the notion the Rev. For instance, since the virtue of courage is a state of affairs of an individual member of the human natural kind, the value of courage is dependent upon knowledge of what kind of thing a human being is and upon the value of being human. This is how we come to the judgment that the individual is sick, and make the diagnosis of a disease. Certain advocates of the position that dignity means the capacity to exercise rational choice (at least above a certain threshold level) do not believe their argument is thus refuted. Human dignity means that an individual or group feels self-respect and self-worth. R especting human dignity is a central moral and social aim when it comes to either health policy or everyday medical care. The argument from consistency says that, if this is what dignity means in civil rights, this is what dignity must mean in bioethics. It is also important to note that the duty to build up the inflorescent dignity of any human being depends logically on the intrinsic dignity of human beings. A famous philosopher has even argued with a disability rights activist about these issues in the pages of the New York Times Sunday Magazine.33 Could the conception of dignity presented here illuminate these debates? Consequently, the controversy over the concept has raised profound questions: what is entailed in human dignity? Rolston, Environmental Ethics , p. 116. Treatment might be refused, but treatment must be offered. I have argued that the primary distinction in axiology is between intrinsic values and attributed values.17, Intrinsic value is the value something has of itself-the value it has by virtue of its being the kind of thing that it is. [8] More than a mere placeholder for ethical biases and commitments, as has sometimes been claimed, human dignity reveals a nobler, more robust vision of what it means to be human, referencing the essential and inviolable core of our humanity. I have argued that health care is not an absolute right or a natural right in this sense of the word.31 To assert a right to health care is to assert a positive right-a right to goods and services that must, of necessity, vary according to the ecological, historical, physical, social, and economic circumstances of individual persons and societies. I will call the first the Axiological Argument and the second the Argument from Consistency. This value is discovered, not made. 231-256. That is why I argue that instrumental values are a class of attributed values. Every oak tree's history can be traced back, as a continuous existent, to its own acorn stage.35 In fact, the continuity is clearer in the case of human development. In the Leviathan he writes: The Value or worth of a man, is, as of other things, his price; that is to say, so much as would be given for the use of his Power; and therefore it is not absolute; but a thing dependent on the need and judgment of another.. Intrinsic dignity is at the core of all our beliefs about moral obligation. Without this primary respect, there is no basis for interpersonal morality. Reality is not homogenous but "lumpy." That is, based on the inefficacy of the intervention, on absolute scarcity, or on the individual's own judgments about burdens and benefits. Transhumanism is a loosely defined movement that has developed graduallyover the past two decades, and can be viewed as an outgrowth of secularhumanism and the Enlightenment. One of the primary features distinguishing the intrinsic value of a natural kind that has intrinsic dignity from other natural kinds is a kind-typical capacity for moral agency. A human clone brought to birth would be picked out as falling under the extension of the human natural kind. This conception of dignity has important implications for addressing a variety of issues in bioethics. Throughout Western history and in contemporary debates, the word dignity has played a prominent role in ethical discussions. Curiously, cloning to bring babies to birth has met with widespread opposition by persons of many different philosophical and theological orientations. Finally, I will show how this vigorous understanding of dignity helps to give shape to arguments in bioethics. It is not a different kind of thing (say a slug or a porpoise). Those suffering from PCU may represent a limiting case. The dignity here acknowledged is an objective value that presents itself as worthy of respect. The term “human dignity” has become common parlance in recent decades, particularly in political and ethical discourse, where its use ranges from titular to foundational. "9 More simply, he states elsewhere, "Humanity itself is a dignity."10. A duty of perfect obligation to respect the capacities that confer intrinsic dignity upon a natural kind, in themselves and in others. It is valuable independent of any valuer's purposes, beliefs, desires, interests, or expectations. A conception of dignity with the explanatory power to understand the basis for arguments on both sides of the debate about euthanasia as well as the normative power to settle that argument in favor of prohibiting the practice seems much more than a "useless" concept. Dignity is the value one has to the Commonwealth regardless of whether one actually merits this based on one's true excellence as a human being or on one's nature as a human being. 10. The duty to provide such care follows from P-IV. Therefore, one is led to the alternative: that dignity, in its fundamental moral sense, is defined in terms of simply being human-i.e., as an intrinsic value. i. 9. It causes such pain that one may lose the ability to concentrate on other aspects of life. A duty to comport themselves in a manner that is consistent with their own intrinsic dignity. Finally, I applied this theory of dignity and its associated moral norms to a variety of pressing ethical questions in contemporary bioethics, showing how this conception of dignity is extraordinarily powerful in helping us to understand how we ought to proceed in answering these questions. Certainly, most of us are able to tell stories about the extraordinary lessons in human dignity we have learned from persons whose lives have been racked by pain, and most of us also know undignified human beings who have spent their whole lives in the pursuit of pleasure. Immanuel Kant, "The Metaphysics of Morals, Part II: The Metaphysical Principles of Virtue," Ak419-420, in Kant, Ethical Philosophy , trans. Basing morality squarely on a balance between pleasure and pain has seemed, since the time of Aristotle, to be an anemic account of morality and human dignity, and one that most people would reject.22. Thus, the intrinsic value of a natural entity-the value it has by virtue of being the kind of thing that it is-depends upon one's ability to pick that entity out as a member of a natural kind. Raymond G. Frey, "Pain, Vivisection, and the Value of Life," Journal of Medical It is concerned with physical and psychological integrity and empowerment. " Of particular relevance to discussions of access to health care resources are principles P-I and P-IV. 1983). Ultimately, the objective value of human dignity is held in the practice of living and sustaining embodied lives. Carlos A. Bedate and Robert C. Cefalo, "The Zygote: To Be or Not Be a Peron," Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 14 (1989): 641-645; Thomas J. Bole, III,"Metaphysical Accounts of the Zygote as a Person and the Veto Power of Facts," The disabled therefore have intrinsic dignity. For example, the value of humor may serve no clear instrumental purpose. 4, ed. This would mean that infants, the retarded, the severely mentally ill, prisoners, the comatose, and perhaps even the sleeping would have no human dignity. Respect for intrinsic dignity would dictate, as argued above, that one recognize the radically equal intrinsic dignity of a severely mentally retarded adult and of a philosophy professor at an Ivy League university. The plight of the sick has little instrumental value, rarely serving the purposes, beliefs, desires, interests, or expectations of any of us as individuals. There has yet to be, however, an entirely compelling explanation of exactly why this might be so. Such so-called positive rights are based on P-IV, the duty to build up the inflorescent dignity of individuals belonging to a natural kind that has, as a kind, intrinsic dignity. 1. If there is such a thing as intrinsic value, then, as I have argued, it is the value something has by virtue of its being the kind of thing that it is. Carol R. Taylor and Roberto Dell'Oro (Washington, Such patients have not become some other kind of thing. "Embryo" is a phase-sortal term for animals and "acorn" is a phase-sortal term for oaks.36 If intrinsic value inheres in individuals as members of kinds, then it inheres in them throughout their natural histories as members of that kind undergoing the development that typifies the kind. He eliminated any necessary connection to true human excellence and took the meaning of dignity to depend solely upon the inter-subjective judgments of the market. I offered two arguments about why the intrinsic sense of dignity is the most foundational-the Axiological Argument and the Argument from Consistency. At a descriptive level, asking what advocates of a position mean when they refer to human dignity will reveal what aspects of being human they deem to be most valuable. Cloning blurs the line between the value one discovers in the human as a natural kind (i.e., intrinsic dignity) and the value that is merely conferred upon artifacts by human attribution. As I have argued, this value is not based on the active expression by an individual of any one (or even several) of the particular characteristics that confer intrinsic dignity on the natural kind as a whole. While extraordinarily impaired, these individuals still have intrinsic dignity by virtue of being the kinds of things that they are- members of the human natural kind. distinguish intrinsic from instrumental values, or intrinsic from extrinsic values. One must ask, are things good merely because we choose them? Cambridge University Press, 2001). To kill oneself in the face of death or to ask to be killed, on this view, is precisely the opposite of what it means to face death with dignity. [T]hat which constitutes the condition under which alone something can be an end in itself has not merely a relative worth, i.e., a price, but has intrinsic worth, i.e., dignity. Human beings should not be used because their dignity requires that they be treated as having intrinsic, not merely instrumental, worth. The phase `` attributed dignities '' refers to several non-instrumental values that are directly. 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