Given the current philosophical impasse over human dignity, it is the neglectedconcept of human
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.