Filip Horák
Author’s affiliation: Faculty of Law, Charles University in Prague

Human Dignity in Constitutional Law: A Legitimate Argument or an Axiom?

Jurisprudence 4/2017 Section: Articles Page: 3-14

Keywords: human dignity, axiom, legal argumentation, proportionality principle

Abstract: After human dignity has spread into a large number of constitutions all over the world, a detailed examination of this phenomenon is steadily gaining importance. This paper finds three autonomous approaches to human dignity in constitutional law, namely the subjective human right, the source of human rights, and an objective constitutional value. Each of these approaches is based on one of the historical views on human dignity. The key argument of this paper states that by connecting these three legitimate approaches together, dangerous and unwanted hybrid forms of human dignity are being created. These forms tend to be axiomatic, preventing the rational legal argumentation, as well as the use of the proportionality principle. The use of human dignity in such axiomatic way is an argumentative foul, unfortunately so often made by the judiciary and doctrine alike.