This is the first monographic presentation of the results of my long-standing research on human dignity in a condensed form. The final examination of this topic is planned for 2007 (see preview here). It will differ from the one presented here primarily by the more thorough treatment of subproblems as well as a a more academic presentation. In order to make here presented book as concise as possible the footnotes have been taken out. This not only makes the book accessible, but more suitable as an introduction to the topic.
The first chapter follows the question, "How did the concept of human dignity come into law?"It demonstrates that this idea is not an invention of the German Constitution, as many people might believe. Rather, its legal origin is in international law and, specifically, the UN charter. The debate surrounding the concept is described further under both international law and in national law.
The second chapter provides a history of the legal interpretation of the concept of human dignity. It notes that, besides some historically non-adoptable ad hoc interpretations, there are two primary traditional, but diametrically opposed, lines of legal interpretation. There is an heteronomic and an autonomic tradition of legal interpretation. This difference is responsible, decisively, for the ambiguity of the concept.
The third chapter demonstrates that the conflict between the heteronomic and autonomic interpretations of the concept of human dignity also influenced the philosophical construct of human dignity since antiquity.
Chapters four through six seek to reconstruct the concept of human dignity on the basis of a linguistic analysis and a subjective theory of value. This reconstruction avoids controversial metaphysical assumptions and thereby presents a more universally acceptable and understandable conception of human dignity, irrespective of one's cultural background.
Chapters seven and eight explore the appropriation of the concept of human dignity in various conflict fields and examines the, so-called, "dignity against dignity" conflicts.
Chapter nine deals with question, "How we can derive norms - that is, norms of human rights and human duties - from our reconceptualization of human dignity?" In this context, a new philosophical reconstruction of the concepts of "duty" and "right" are presented.
While the first two chapters pursue the historical threads of the legal interpretation of the concept of human dignity, and chapters three through nine analyze the purely philosophical aspects of the concept of human dignity, the last chapter, ten, deals with the consequences of integrating the reconceptualization of human dignity in law.
A brief bibliography and a list of the most important jurisprudence informs and replenishes the publication.