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date: 28 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

It has been argued that dignity is a useless concept that adds nothing to existing moral vocabulary: it is just a slogan. In this chapter, it is argued that only a concept of dignity can adequately explain a serious moral wrong inflicted on people with disabilities, namely their relegation to inferior social status. Far from being useless, it uniquely explains why fundamental changes to social relations are needed to secure justice. Moreover, dignity matters just as much for people with cognitive impairments as it does for everyone else. As such, fraught debates about the moral standing of people with severe cognitive impairment are largely irrelevant to explaining why they, too, should be treated as social equals.

Keywords: dignity, disability, harm, social status, moral standing

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