A Critical Legal Argument
In recent years, there has been an explosion of writing on the topic of human dignity across a plethora of different academic disciplines. Despite this explosion of interest, there is one group – critical legal scholars – that has devoted little if any attention to human dignity. This book argues that these scholars should attend to human dignity, a concept rich enough to support a whole range of progressive ambitions, particularly in the field of international law. It synthesizes certain liberal arguments about the good of self-authorship with the critical legal philosophy of Roberto Unger and the capabilities approach to agency of Amartya Sen, to formulate a unique conception of human dignity. The author argues how human dignity flows from an individual’s capacity for self-authorship as defined by the set of expressive capabilities s/he possesses, and the book demonstrates how this conception can enrich our understanding of international human rights law by making the amplification of human dignity its fundamental orientation.