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Nursing and Our Common Humanity 

Nursing and Our Common Humanity
Chapter:
Nursing and Our Common Humanity
Author(s):

Mark Lazenby

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190695712.003.0002
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date: 25 May 2022

Codes of ethics often begin with the twin notions of dignity and respect. However, the meaning of these terms is not always clear or univocal. In this chapter, it is argued that what is meant by dignity is a quality that transcends the particularities by which throughout history people have divided themselves from each other and which some people have used to commit crimes against humanity. Indeed, by “dignity” the chapter means humanity, that which all people share, their common humanity. And by “respect” the chapter means looking at one’s own humanity in the humanity of others, as “respect,” in its origins means to look back upon. When people treat others with respect, they look back upon their humanity in others’. For nurses, the ground of their morality is that they treat all humanity the same, for it is their humanity that they treat when they treat others.

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