The Value of Life and the Dignity of Persons Human Dignity and Assisted Death

Understood in this way, the value of dignity, including human dignity, is in its basic definition a form or manifestation of moral biocentrism. However, it certainly does not lead to the devaluation of the value of dignity, including human dignity. On the contrary, it broadens its scope, so that it extends beyond the category of humankind. On what basis, then, should we respect human beings who are not fully responsible moral agents and could be useful in bioethics? It seems that the only acceptable answer is that human dignity is based on something they share with other beings and that is life.

Yet, one may wonder about the plausibility of separating facts about health and disease from value judgments in this way. After all, ascriptions of health tend to fit closely, in our culture, with ascriptions of value. A healthy heart that pumps blood to the body is surely a good one, at least a good one for the person who has it. Indeed, the norms set by nature are sometimes difficult to distinguish from social norms (Bolton, 2013).

A Life Worthy of Human Dignity: Requirements, Values and Assumptions

Nevertheless, our pursuit of values can never infringe on the value of humanity as an end in itself. This means that the actions I pursue as a rational agent bound by the moral law include respecting everyone else’s pursuit of what they deem by reason to be good (Kant, 2012). In this view, it seems that freedom and autonomy require acting responsibly toward one’s fellow humanity.

making amends by living lives of dignity, value and worth

Of course, the difficulty of such a project is finding all and only those capacities that are most useful to us without minimizing or devaluing those capacities that appear less beneficial. Thus, Vaccari is skeptical that there are identifiable values that hold across time and culture that could plausibly living amends converge on the ideal posthuman and make it worthy of pursuit. One consequence of Vaccari’s work is the suggestion that it may be irresponsible to engage in the transhumanist project that aims to achieve the posthuman state and does so without a clear set of shared values to guide the project.

National Association of Social Workers members

Matters of dignity are at the heart of every interaction we have on a daily basis and the time has come for us to pay attention to them and to give them voice. They show up in the workplace, in schools, at home, in intimate relationships-everywhere human beings come into contact with one another. One of the major issues I have uncovered in the workplace is that employees often feel that they are not treated well, but have no way to «speak-up» for fear of retribution.

making amends by living lives of dignity, value and worth

Keeping these inherent risks in mind, the pursuit of human enhancement needs to be carried out in a responsible manner—a manner that answers to the needs and realities of human persons without infringing on their right to life, freedom, and pursuit of the good. On their view, one reason the cognitive achievement model is better than the accumulation of knowledge model is that it can account for more valuable states of knowledge, such as understanding why something is the case. The concept of value is once again an important consideration for understanding human enhancements. If we really do value cognitive capacities, and if enhancements can promote these values, then values that are universally held provide the kind of values the posthumanists need to make their case.

Infusing discipline with dignity

However, equality is not something that we can possess at our will; others must confer it on us. This means that equality is not a value that living creatures are born with but a value conferred on them by others who believe them to be equal. But the same question is brought to our attention again and again.

making amends by living lives of dignity, value and worth

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