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Human Dignity and Political Criticism
  • Coming soon
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Expected online publication date: September 2021
  • Print publication year: 2021
  • Online ISBN: 9781108937597
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108937597
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Book description

Many, including Marx, Rawls, and the contemporary 'Black Lives Matter' movement, embrace the ambition to secure terms of co-existence in which the worth of people's lives becomes a lived reality rather than an empty boast. This book asks whether, as some believe, the philosophical idea of human dignity can help achieve that ambition. Offering a new fourfold typology of dignity concepts, Colin Bird argues that human dignity can perform this role only if certain traditional ways of conceiving it are abandoned. Accordingly, Bird rejects the idea that human dignity refers to the inherent worth or status of individuals, and instead reinterprets it as a social relation, constituted by affects of respect and the modes of mutual attention which they generate. What emerges is a new vision of human dignity as a vital political value, and an arresting vindication of its role as an agent of critical reflection on politics.

Reviews

‘Political Criticism and Human Dignity is an ambitious, scholarly examination of the interrelated ideas of human dignity and respect, and the mainstream political theory that has come to depend on these ideas. Its conclusions will challenge those already invested in traditional liberal, especially Rawlsian theory to rethink some of their most basic assumptions.'

Remy Debes - University of Memphis

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