To possess dignity is to be worthy of respect, and the concept of dignity is closely allied to ideas of selfworth and self-esteem. Because possessing dignity means that one has a claim to be treated with respect, the possession of dignity by a person implies a moral obligation of others to behave with respect toward that person. Not all forms of respect are a tribute to dignity, however. A race horse may be respected and appreciated for its speed and grace, but it does not, therefore, possess dignity. Similarly, one may well treat rattlesnakes with respect, but that does not imply that rattlesnakes have dignity.

Instead of being associated with general respect, in its core usage, dignity applies only to human persons, in virtue of their ...

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