June 06, 2012
Office of the Dean
Adeno Addis, W. Ray Forrester Professor of Public and Constitutional Law at Tulane Law School, delivered “The Role of ‘Human Dignity’ in a World of Plural Values and Ethical Commitments” at the University of Hong Kong in March. He gave a similar lecture at City University of Hong Kong, as well.
A description of
’s lecture—posted on the university’s Center for Comparative and Public Law website—read the following:
Prof. Adeno Addis (Photo/ University of Hong Kong)
The Concept of human dignity plays a central role in many legal and political theories. The concept also occupies a prominent place in numerous national and international legal documents as well as judicial decisions. Yet, it is not always clear what the concept actually means. It is one of those phrases that “carry unspoken assumptions and connotations” that can powerfully influence the discourse they permeate while escaping critical scrutiny. Professor Addis first subjects the phrase ‘human dignity’ to critical scrutiny to see which or what understanding (among many) is politically or logically defensible and credible as a matter of practice. He then defines and defends an understanding of human dignity that develops from the bottom up rather than from the top down (philosophically or theologically). This understanding of human dignity, Professor Addis argues, will have a better chance of succeeding as a standard of achievement in a world of plural moral values and ethical commitments.
Pictures from the lecture are now online and may be viewed by clicking