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Dignity and Human Rights

Dignity is related to human rights. Traditional concepts of inherent dignity associate dignity with the possession of rationality and autonomy, which consequently excludes non-rational humans from being viewed as possessing inherent dignity and therefore equal and inherent worth.

Human rights are an unprecedented normative success. They are analysed as elements of international legal and political practice, or as ethical norms of supra-cultural authority. Despite their limitations and difficulties regarding their enforcement, they enjoy an almost global recognition. No other set of norms has ever been that widely accepted. The success of human rights seems to stem crucially from the fact that they were never backed by a substantive account of human nature and the worth, value, or status of a human being.

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