Tuesday, August 2nd

In his series of talks, Ralf Poscher carefully scrutinized the concept of human dignity from the perspective of German constitutional law. In this regard, two fundamental assumptions were presented: first that human dignity in the German constitution functions as a narrow principle safeguarding the status of being human (the case of torture can serve as a paradigm example for a violation); and second, that human dignity – as a basic feature of mankind – cannot be taken away or somehow diminished, yet can be disrespected or not sufficiently protected. These assumptions pose several complex questions – what act constitutes a violation of the human status? What does respect for human dignity require? Can those requirements be different for different scenarios? 

Guy Carmi's presentation, aimed at providing a rather critical and skeptical view of human dignity and the implications of its widespread constitutional use. The concern expressed by Guy, related to human dignity's special potential of being exploited for not enhancing human rights but rather for curtailing and undermining them – a risky potential mainly for freedom of expression. 

Johannes Eichenhofer's presentation touched upon the relationship between two core concepts of liberal societies - human dignity and privacy, while exploring the similarities and differences between the two; their way of functioning; and the ethical foundations that support them.