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Human Indignity

Human Indignity

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Published by Ray Coil
Abstract: Given the current philosophical impasse over human dignity, it is the neglected concept of human indignity that appears to offer more evocative and momentous capacity to drive the moral discourse in a positive direction. Philosophy of language ideas from Austin and Wittgenstein are suggestive of a largely untapped field of meaning by way of negation which reveals the real intent behind a demand for human dignity, analogous to the way we contrast real and unreal, light and darkness, heat and cold, even sanity and insanity. This human “indignity response” might be further explained as behaving similar to a simple tropism from elementary biology. In order to avoid the relativist and subjectivist difficulties in weighting the definition of indignity merely toward personal insult, I propose the hypothesis that the universal moral claim that one ought not to inflict needless pain is a paradigmatic or grounding notion for human indignity. Thus, the ancient proscription, primum non nocere, first do no harm, turns out to be a guiding concept, not just for the practice of medicine but for the practice of moral philosophy and a way forward toward acknowledging a sense of moral convergence or consilience of conscience in the great debate over human dignity.
Abstract: Given the current philosophical impasse over human dignity, it is the neglected concept of human indignity that appears to offer more evocative and momentous capacity to drive the moral discourse in a positive direction. Philosophy of language ideas from Austin and Wittgenstein are suggestive of a largely untapped field of meaning by way of negation which reveals the real intent behind a demand for human dignity, analogous to the way we contrast real and unreal, light and darkness, heat and cold, even sanity and insanity. This human “indignity response” might be further explained as behaving similar to a simple tropism from elementary biology. In order to avoid the relativist and subjectivist difficulties in weighting the definition of indignity merely toward personal insult, I propose the hypothesis that the universal moral claim that one ought not to inflict needless pain is a paradigmatic or grounding notion for human indignity. Thus, the ancient proscription, primum non nocere, first do no harm, turns out to be a guiding concept, not just for the practice of medicine but for the practice of moral philosophy and a way forward toward acknowledging a sense of moral convergence or consilience of conscience in the great debate over human dignity.

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: Ray Coil on Aug 12, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/21/2013

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PRIMUM NON NOCERE
 – 
FIRST DO NO HARM:FINDING COMMON GROUND FOR HUMAN INDIGNITY
 
 
PRIMUM NON NOCERE
 – 
FIRST DO NO HARM:FINDING COMMON GROUND FOR HUMAN INDIGNITY
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillmentof the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in PhilosophyByCharles R. Coil Jr.Harding UniversityBachelor of Arts in Business, 1976May 2009University of Arkansas
 
 
 
ABSTRACT
Given the current philosophical impasse over human dignity, it is the neglectedconcept of human
indignity
that appears to offer more evocative and momentous capacityto drive the moral discourse in a positive direction. Philosophy of language ideas fromAustin and Wittgenstein are suggestive of a largely untapped field of meaning by way of negation which reveals the real intent behind a demand for human dignity, analogous tothe way we contrast real and unreal, light and darkness, heat and cold, even sanity and
insanity. This human ―indignity response‖ might be further explained as behaving similar 
to a simple tropism from elementary biology. In order to avoid the relativist andsubjectivist difficulties in weighting the definition of indignity merely toward personalinsult, I propose the hypothesis that the universal moral claim that one ought not to inflictneedless pain is a paradigmatic or grounding notion for human indignity. Thus, theancient proscription,
 primum non nocere
, first do no harm, turns out to be a guidingconcept, not just for the practice of medicine but for the practice of moral philosophy anda way forward toward acknowledging a sense of moral convergence or consilience of conscience in the great debate over human dignity.

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