Dignity

Dignity is a term used in moral, ethical, and political discussions to signify that a being has an innate right to respect and ethical treatment. It is an extension of the Enlightenment-era concepts of inherent, inalienable rights. Dignity is generally proscriptive and cautionary: for example in politics it is usually used to critique the treatment of oppressed and vulnerable groups and peoples, but it has also been extended to apply to cultures and sub-cultures, religious beliefs and ideals, animals used for food or research, and plants.

The English word "dignity" comes from Latin dignitas by way of French dignité. In ordinary usage it denotes respect and status, and it is often used to suggest that someone is not receiving a proper degree of respect, or even that they are failing to treat themselves with proper self-respect. There is also a long history of special philosophical use of this term. However, it is rarely defined outright in political, legal, and scientific discussions. International proclamations have thus far left dignity undefined, and scientific commentators, such as those arguing against genetic research and algeny, cite dignity as a reason but are ambiguous about its application.

Read more about Dignity:  Religion, Proclamations and Conventions, Medicine, Law

Famous quotes containing the word dignity:

    Some people show evil as a great racehorse shows breeding. They have the dignity of a hard chancre.
    Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961)

    The dignity and stability of government in all its branches, the morals of the people, and every blessing of society, depend so much upon an upright and skilful administration of justice, that the judicial power ought to be distinct from both the legislative and executive, and independent upon both, that so it may be a check upon both, as both should be checks upon that.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)

    Popular art is normally decried as vulgar by the cultivated people of its time; then it loses favor with its original audience as a new generation grows up; then it begins to merge into the softer lighting of “quaint,” and cultivated people become interested in it, and finally it begins to take on the archaic dignity of the primitive.
    Northrop Frye (b. 1912)