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European Sources of Human Dignity

A Commented Anthology

Mette Lebech

This anthology brings together texts of significance for the conceptualisation of human dignity as a constitutional principle in Europe from the earliest evidence until 1965. It divides into four parts, respectively presenting the ancient, the medieval, the early modern and the modern sources. As far as human dignity is a constitutional principle, its history follows closely that of the constitution of states. However, various traditions of human dignity, understanding it to rely on features unrelated to the state, combine in the background to reflect the substance of the idea. The introductions to texts, chapters and parts narrates this history in relation to the texts presented to reflect it. The aim is to provide for scholars and students of law, philosophy, political science and theology a collection of texts documenting the history of the concept of human dignity that is sufficiently comprehensive to contextualise the various understandings of it. A structured bibliography accompanies the work.

Mette Lebech is a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Maynooth, Ireland, since 1998. She holds degrees in philosophy from the universities of Copenhagen, Louvain-la-neuve and Leuven. She has lectured and published widely on human dignity, friendship, various topics in bioethics and the philosophy of Edith Stein. Her publications include On the Problem of Human Dignity. A Hermeneutical and Phenomenological Investigation, Köningshausen und Neumann, 2009 and The Philosophy of Edith Stein. From Phenomenology to Metaphysics, Peter Lang, 2015. She is a past founding President of the International Association for the Study of the Philosophy of Edith Stein (IASPES) and an honorary life member of the same. Her current research interest is in phenomenological value theory.