Is Dignity the Foundation of Human Rights?

30 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2013 Last revised: 28 Jan 2013

See all articles by Jeremy Waldron

Jeremy Waldron

New York University School of Law

Date Written: January 3, 2013


The paper will consider the common claim that human rights are based on human dignity as a foundational value. I will make some criticisms of that idea, arguing instead that dignity is a status that comprises fundamental human rights rather than being a value that functions as a major premise of rights claims.

Keywords: dignity, foundationalism, human rights, rights, status, UDHR

Suggested Citation

Waldron, Jeremy, Is Dignity the Foundation of Human Rights? (January 3, 2013). NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 12-73. Available at SSRN: or

Jeremy Waldron (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

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