2 J. Int'l & Comp. L. 1 (2015)

handle is hein.journals/jintcl2 and id is 1 raw text is: 







               HUMAN DIGNITY IN COMPARATIVE
      CONSTITUTIONAL CONTEXT: IN SEARCH OF AN
                    OVERLAPPING CONSENSUS

                                Adeno Addis*

   Abstract: The concept of human dignity plays an important role in ordinary
   conversations and legal and political theories. It also occupies a prominent
   place in numerous national constitutions and international conventions. Yet, it
   is not always clear what the concept means or entails. The author, in an earlier
   work, argued that in a world of plural values and ethical commitments a top-
   down approach, whether philosophical or religious, is unlikely to provide us
   with a common standard for deciding what it means to dignify humans or to
   subject them to indignities. Building on the earlier work, this article argues
   that the best way to understand the scope and content of human dignity is to
   engage in a bottom-up inquiry, carefully describing the choices communities
   make in the name of human dignity. The purpose of such inquiry is to see
   whether there are patterns in the usage that suggest that there is a convergence
   of, an overlapping consensus on, an understanding of the phrase that could
   be appropriated as a standard of measurement in intercultural and intersystem
   conversations and critiques. Focusing on references to human dignity in
   national constitutions, the article shows that there are in fact patterns of
   usage that suggest the existence of a consensus on specific understandings
   of dignity.

   Keywords:    human    dignity;  constitutions;  equality;  human    rights;
   jurisprudence; physical integrity.


                             I.    Introduction

The concept of human dignity plays an important role in ordinary conversations'
and an even more important and central role in many legal and political


* W R Irby Chair and W Ray Forrester Professor of Public and Constitutional Law, Tulane University
   School of Law. I thank Elan Silver of Tulane Law School Class of 2015 for his excellent research work.
1 Elisabeth Bumiller, Bush Urges Graduates to Use Science to Protect Human Dignity, New York
   Times (New York, 7 May 2006); John Tagliabu, Looking Back to 20th Century, Pope Says Respecting
   Human Dignity Is Key to World Peace, New York Times, (New York, 2 January 1999); Roger Mahoney,
   Immigration Debate Should Be About Recognizing the Dignity in Every Human, Washington Post
   (Washington, 28 June 2012); Dan Froomkin, A Question of Human Dignity, Washington Post
   (Washington, 14 February 2008). In a recent executive order President Barack Obama instructed
   government officials to engage in regulatory review to consider (and discuss qualitatively) values that
   are difficult or impossible to quantify including equity, human dignity, fairness, and distributive impacts
   Exec. Order No 13,563, 3 CFR 215, 216 (2012).
                               [(2015) 2:1 JICL 1 28]

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