Human Dignity and the Law in Post-War Europe

Roots and Reality of an Ambiguous Concept

By Christiaan W.J.M. Alting von Geusau

This book offers a critical analysis of the legal norm of human dignity as recently codified in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (EU Charter, 2009), and it shows why a principled understanding of the notion of human dignity concerns every citizen. Through assessing both the philosophical and historical roots of the legal concept of human dignity, as well as the current application thereof by the courts, the book contributes to a better understanding of this much used, but little understood, legal principle. The combined philosophical and historical-personal analysis of the human dignity concept is conducted in a way that offers new perspectives not provided in existing books on human dignity and the law. By studying the fundamental roots of the concept in post-War thinking in combination with the historical study of the individual perpetrators and their reasoning for violating the dignity of other human beings - as well as a critical assessment of current human dignity legal practice and case law - the book offers new answers on how human dignity can be better protected. It shows how the protection of human dignity is not a distant legal concept, but a reality that concerns every human being, every day, on all levels of society. Human dignity is not just a worthy ideal to be pursued exclusively by philosophers and lawyers, it describes the core of what it means to be human.

270 pages

Publication Date: 3/1/2013
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9789058509581