Inventing Human Dignity

Authored by: Sharon Sliwinski

The Routledge Companion to Literature and Human Rights

Print publication date:  August  2015
Online publication date:  July  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415736411
eBook ISBN: 9781315778372
Adobe ISBN: 9781317696285


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Are human beings endowed with an inviolable dignity? Or is dignity something that is lost and won? One of the most significant assertions made in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is the statement that every individual possesses an inalienable dignity simply by virtue of belonging to the “human family.” This idea is presented as self-evident in this foundational document, which is to say it appears as ahistorical and a priori. Here, to be human is to possess an inviolable dignity, to be endowed with an unconditional worth affixed to one’s very person.

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