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Immanuel Kant's ethical theory is one of the most influential theories in Western philosophical history. While this is the case, how to interpret and apply Kant's theory is the subject of lively debate within both theoretical philosophy and applied philosophy.

One of the complicating factors in understanding Kant's theory is that some of the terms he uses do not easily translate into contemporary English. For instance, Kant claims that humanity has a dignity or worth that elevates humanity above all else in nature. This claim is often taken as meaning that humanity has the highest value—that it is more valuable than any and all nonhuman entities. However, Kant does not take “dignity” to imply such a value claim. Instead, “dignity” is to be understood as a ...

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