Cover: Humanity without Dignity: Moral Equality, Respect, and Human Rights, from Harvard University PressCover: Humanity without Dignity in HARDCOVER

Humanity without Dignity

Moral Equality, Respect, and Human Rights

Product Details


$44.00 • £38.95 • €40.95

ISBN 9780674049215

Publication Date: 06/26/2017


320 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


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In Humanity without Dignity, one of the most original and powerful political philosophers of our time presents his moral groundwork. Skeptical of rationalistic frameworks, Andrea Sangiovanni asks us to start from a consideration of human vulnerability and of the wrongness of treating others as inferior. The result is a comprehensive and humane vision of morality and politics for earthly, social beings—a vision that asks us to think anew about who and what we are. What more can we expect of a great piece of philosophy?—Rainer Forst, Goethe University Frankfurt

This is an important book on a much-discussed subject: what does talk about human equality amount to? Many answers are formulated in terms of dignity, which is often grounded in the idea that there is some value-bestowing property we all share in equal measure. Sangiovanni offers an alternative account and explores in great detail and with much sophistication what it implies for the debate about human rights. Anybody interested in human rights should pay attention.—Mathias Risse, Harvard University

In this erudite and superbly written book Andrea Sangiovanni draws on sources from philosophy, literature, international law, and social science to present a new theory of equality. Rather than supposing that our commitment to the moral equality of all is based on an appeal to an account of human dignity, Sangiovanni puts forward a radical alternative that starts from an explanation of why it is wrong to treat another as an inferior. It is wrong, he argues, when the treatment involves stigmatization, dehumanization, infantilization, instrumentalization, or objectification. And these, in turn, are objectionable when and because they involve social cruelty, understood as an assault on another’s capacity to develop and maintain the integrity of their sense of self. Illustrating the approach with the example of discrimination, and extending it to a detailed account of human rights, Sangiovanni has made a highly original and impressively thoughtful contribution to our understanding of the basis of human equality.—Jonathan Wolff, University of Oxford

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