Human dignity: regulative principle and absolute value

J Int Bioethique. 2010 Sep;21(3):63-76, 89. doi: 10.3917/jib.213.0063.


This paper seeks to demonstrate that just as the law's legitimacy requires fundamental principles of human rights, the legitimacy of moral discourse and decisions depends upon the recognition of human dignity as a principle with absolute value. Though this recognition provides no easy solutions, it plays an essential regulative role that provides a framework for resolving cases of conflict. The paper concludes with some examples regarding bioethical issues at the beginning and end of life.

MeSH terms

  • Ethics, Medical
  • Human Rights*
  • Humans
  • Morals
  • Personhood*