In her project "MoWo" (Mobile Dignity Concepts - AI-supported Analysis of Historical Justification Structures and Contexts of Use), Prof. Dr Ulrike Müßig from the Chair of Civil Law and German and European Legal History is investigating historical contexts of use for dignity(ies).
Human dignity is not only on everyone's lips, it often stands pars pro toto for human rights or even for the entire constitutional order: "Human dignity governs the Basic Law" (Carlo Schmid in the Parliamentary Council). Its "inalienability" (UDHR 1948) and "inviolability" (GG 1949) are so grandiose (not only linguistically) that we fail to realise that dignity in itself is not a legal concept. This is where MoWo comes in, which as an acronym also deliberately alludes to the twisted reflection of "Momo" (Michael Ende). The use of AI in legal history is not intended to bring back "stolen time"; rather, the title character of Ende's fairy tale novel and his abandoned theatre ruin stand for what constitutional commitment to human dignity in Article 1 (1) of the Basic Law can achieve: "it [does] not matter how old someone is, what profession he or she pursues, whether he or she is top of the class at school or has a fortune in the bank." In order to implement the functionality of the human dignity guarantee in legal terms, it is crucial to make the provocative clarification - the starting point for the MoWo research project - that human dignity in itself has no secure legal content. This can be seen in the fact that there are only singular decisions of the BVerfG that are based solely on a violation of Article 1 (1) of the Basic Law, whereas otherwise "concrete" violations of fundamental rights are always examined. The legal functionality of human dignity is - to put it simply - context-dependent and thus exposes itself to the paradoxical perplexity that it serves as a heuristic source for the legal punishment of concrete disrespect without itself having a general, legally abstractable content. It is unclear what human dignity is actually based on - and there is no lack of weighty legal terminology such as "supreme constitutional value", "supreme constitutional principle" - and what makes it constitutionally "inviolable". Methodologically, therefore, a minimisation is obvious, namely to that which would be plausible to everyone if Article 1 (1) GG did not exist at all. MoWo is intended to create the basis for the content of this minimisation by preparing the machine processing of legal-historical texts with the aim of gaining knowledge of the content by means of AI. This methodological minimisation offers two advantages:
1. the invocation of human dignity cannot be "abused" to stifle discussions on challenging topics such as pandemic management, genetic engineering or assisted suicide.
2. the appropriation of human dignity by particular ideologies or theological exaggerations is made impossible or more difficult and is recognisable in the first place.
Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure; KIMoNo, New Ways of Mobility.