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In this review of Leon Kass’s Life, liberty and the defense …

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Making sense of dignity

Richard E Ashcroft

Correspondence to:
Richard E Ashcroft
Reader in Biomedical Ethics, Imperial College London, Medical Ethics Unit, 324 Reynolds Building, St Dunstan’s Road, London W6 8RP; [email protected]

Original version received 4 November 2004

Accepted for publication 4 January 2005

In this review of Leon Kass’s Life, liberty and the defense of dignity and Deryck Beyleveld and Roger Brownsword’s Human dignity in bioethics and biolaw. I consider the prospects for a theory of dignity as a basis for bioethics research. I argue that dignity theories are worth exploring in more detail, but that research needs to consider both "antitheory" accounts of the language of bioethics, and to give more weight to accounts of dignity as an outcome of holding positive liberties and as something that has a psychological dimension.

Keywords: dignity; jurisprudence; theory of ethics

Source: Journal of Medical Ethics 2005;31:679-682.

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