11 October 2012

from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Dignity

A very short essay at the end + last week's news

Dear friends,

Alfonso's play is still on until 28 October: Gaviotas Subterraneas. at the TeatroEspañol C/
Principe, 25 – Plaza de Santa Ana (Barrio de la Leteras). Tickets from the box office or
www.telentrada.com. The play starts at 20.30pm.
Impressive even if I am biased and a great fan of Alfonso!!!!

In the meantime:

---from Carmen's jewellery TarTeTaTin ---
Carmen has sent me a link for her jewellery and info (in French), TarTeTaTin

Cementerio Británico

Redacto el presente mensaje tanto en español como en inglés con el objeto de comunicarles el
programa de visitas guiadas sábados por la mañana al Cementerio Británico.

Las visitas empiezan a las 11 horas en la entrada del Cementerio Británico, calle del Comandante
Fontanes 7, distrito de Carabanchel
*sábado, día 27 de octubre, cuando daré las explicaciones en español
*sábado, día 3 de noviembre, cuando daré las explicaciones en inglés.

Lo dejo a su elección cuál día acuda y no hay necesidad de avisar.

Si prefiere hacer la visita en una fecha no programada por la presente lista, no hay más que avisarme.

Tomen nota de nuestra página web < www.britishcemeterymadrid.com > que contiene información de la
historia del Cementerio y el mapa de su ubicación.


I am writing this in both Spanish and in English to provide the programme of Saturday morning guided
visits to the British Cemetery.

We meet at 11 o'clock at the Cemetery entrance in Calle del Comandante Fontanes 7 in Carabanchel
* the visit on Saturday 27th October will be in Spanish
* the visit on Saturday 3rd November will be in English.

The choice of date is left to you and there is no need tell me in advance of the visit whether you
are coming.
If you would like a visit on a different date, just let me know and I will arrange it.

Do take note of our website < www.britishcemeterymadrid.com > where you will find details of the
Cemetery's history and a map of its location.

David Butler


Best Lawrence

PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
Metro: Bilbao

Thursday's Open Tertulia in English
Important Notice: From December 1st, the Tertulia will take place at O'Donnells (ex-Moore's) Irish
Pub, c/ Barceló 1 (metro Tribunal)

----------From Luisa---------
Please not you will have to let her know in advance if you wish to attend, thanks:
Data of language exchange,
Location: Café Comercial
Address: Glorieta de Bilbao, 7
Website location:

Dates: on Saturday
Time: from 12:30 to 14:45
Price: 2.50 € (exchange organizing, hiring the top of the cafeteria and coffee, tea, soda, wine or
beer are included).
Luisa - email to confirm please alvarez_luisa@hotmail.com


Most commentators agree that dignity is some form of "an innate right to respect and ethical
treatment," [of people] or "inherent, inalienable right" (wikipedia) that encompasses many of human
social activities including for example politics, law, morality itself, and medicine.

And an even less disputed aspect of dignity is that it pertains first and foremost to human beings.
Being a human being is sufficient condition to quality for the right of dignity. However, today many
would extend dignity to animals as well.

An important question would be what is the difference between the terms dignity and respect? What is
the moral impact in the term dignity that maybe does not exist in the term respect? One key factor
is that when we invoke morality we are prompted from the presence of good or bad or evil. If, that
is, we are not causing harm, or maybe causing good to others, we might be said to be treating the
other person without the dignity they deserve and if we cause harm we are treating the person
without dignity.

Of course, harm need not necessarily mean physical harm but maybe psychological harm. It might be
argued that even psychological harm is physical harm, which I would agree with, but for our purpose
this is a minor detail. Thus while physical pain is something that can be "measured" so to speak
physiologically, how do we measure say emotion distress? But this is a technical question; I would
argue that a rational human being would be repulsed by a situation where someone is subjected to
emotional distress. And that repulsion is sufficient for us to recognise that someone is not being
treated with dignity. A rational human being would have been repulsed, for example, by the images of
Iraqi prisoners of war who were subjected to humiliating and undignified treatment.

Maybe the weakness of dignity is precisely the idea that "a rational human being would be repulsed"
as I say above. Although there seems to a universal law that human beings ought to be treated with
dignity and ethically correct, there does not seem to be a similar law that we, human beings, have
the duty to be rational agents and act rationally. And here most commentators would agree that
morality pertains to rational agents.

Indeed, human rights are guaranteed if people act rationally and ethically, but there is no
compelling force to always act this way. In our discussion on arrogance, I proposed a strong version
of arrogance: one thinks (believes) not only that one is right and that others are insignificant and
irrelevant, but that one also thinks that one is immune from the effects of even being wrong or
doing wrong.

Being arrogant towards people is a clear example of treating others without dignity, not only
because the others are not respected but also because, in the strong version, one does not exercise
an element of moral consideration when interacting with the other person.

Maybe even dignity is subject a strong version, that is, people treat others without dignity if they
think that they are immune or above the ethical restraints of morality. The problem for us is that
whilst those who think they are above the law, sooner or later they might come across their
comeuppance, what are the consequences of one thinking that they are above morality and ethics?



from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Dignity

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