Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Dignity, Law and Value: Enriching Sensen's Strong Priority Account


Dignity, Law and Value: Enriching Sensen's Strong Priority Account Thumbnail



According to Oliver Sensen’s book, Kant on Human Dignity, the notion of dignity which can be found in the Kantian corpus is fundamentally different from the notion that gains currency in politics-related contexts today, namely, dignity as a value inherent in human beings, a value that commands respect. According to Sensen, Kant’s ethics makes it impossible for a value to be the foundation of a moral requirement; instead, Kant regards value as a prescription of reason, a prescription given by the moral law. Values are normatively secondary and determined by moral laws – call this the Strong Priority Thesis (SPT) of the moral law over values. In this paper, I formulate several objections to Sensen’s SPT and I offer the Weaker Priority Thesis (WPT) as a philosophically and exegetically more compelling account of Kant’s view. The WPT interprets Kant as advancing a more complex account of the relation between moral law, values and dignity than Sensen’s SPT; moreover, I argue that, on the basis of the WPT, Kant’s account becomes sufficiently complex to incorporate also the SPT

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 5, 2018
Publication Date Oct 1, 2018
Journal Studi Kantiani
Print ISSN 1123-4938
Electronic ISSN 1724-1812
Publisher Fabrizio Serra editore
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 155-166
Keywords Kant, Oliver Sensen, Dignity, Justification, Normative priority, Value; Categorical Imperative, End in itself
Publisher URL
Related Public URLs


You might also like

Downloadable Citations