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|Title:||Human Rights and the Dignity of Basic Human Needs|
|Abstract:||The inextricability of the concept of dignity from the discourse on human rights suggests that the articulation of rights in terms of human dignity has both a cross-cultural resonance, and an intuitive appeal. Each of the nine core human rights instruments put forward by the United Nations recognizes the inherent dignity of the human family. In order to determine what kind of guarantees these documents make and the bodies that are responsible for their fulfillment, the concept of dignity requires clarification. This thesis appeals to the Rawlsian distinction between concept and conception, as well as the notion of reflective equilibrium in order to determine which set of principles ought to form the public conception. The end toward which this project is oriented is not necessarily one of legal interpretation; rather, it is a normative reconstruction that may or may not be a legal inquiry. Given the scope of the project, three conceptions of dignity are considered: James Griffin’s personhood-based conception of dignity, Martha Nussbaum’s capabilities-based conception, and David Miller’s needs-based conception. Appealing to the Concluding Observations of state parties to the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, both personhood and capabilities-based conceptions of dignity are proven inherently exclusionary. Insofar as it is an intuitively held judgment that human rights ought to be universal, the conceptions which justify the exclusion of certain individuals or demographics from the objects of rights fails to achieve reflective equilibrium. I argue that a variant of David Miller’s needs-based conception of human dignity that I propose here is the most successful in achieving reflective equilibrium, and for that reason, it ought to inform our conception of human dignity.|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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|Madeline VandenBrink Thesis Final Submission.pdf||447.73 kB||Adobe PDF||View/Open|
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