n South African Journal on Human Rights - Equality and non-discrimination : some analytical thoughts

Volume 22, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0258-7203



Much of the disagreement and still prevalent confusion about the legal and constitutional meaning of concepts such as 'equality', 'equal,' or 'unequal' is due to inadequate linguistic analysis. These concepts, in order to be meaningful, cannot be used as nouns or adjectives but only as nouns or adjectives ('predicative' and 'attributive' being used in the logical rather than the grammatical sense). The correct approach requires an object to be specified (for example, 'strength', 'musicality', 'intelligence' or 'human dignity / worth') in order that the appropriateness of the attributive term ('equal', 'un-equal', 'equality') be judged. Those who would reject 'human worth' ('dignity', 'menswaardigheid', 'Menschenwürde') as the object and the answer, ought at least to come up with an alternative.

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