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Macfadyen Lecture 2023: 'Human Dignity: A Purpose in Perpetuity'

This year’s Macfadyen Lecture is at 6:00pm on 23 March at the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

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The speaker is to be Justice Sikri, a former judge of the Supreme Court of India. He now serves as an International Judge at the Singapore International Commercial Court.

Human Dignity: A Purpose in Perpetuity

“Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good and the tool which embraces it is human dignity”

—Mahatma Gandhi

Human dignity is now a central feature of almost all modern constitutions and international documents. In this lecture, Justice Sikri explores the three model(s) of dignity: theological, philosophical and constitutional. As a constitutional value, human dignity involves a person’s free will, autonomy, and their ability to write a life story within time and space. As a constitutional right, he shows how the fulcrum of all human rights lies in human dignity and the way that Constitutional Courts of various Nation States have carved out multiple facets of rights, utilizing the concept of dignity. Here his analysis is augmented by examples of comparative judicial pronouncements. Justice Sikri explores how human dignity can give full expression to the process of world peace. With these perspectives in mind, he calls human dignity a purpose in perpetuity.


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