Download e-book for iPad: Human Rights as Social Construction by Benjamin Gregg

By Benjamin Gregg

Such a lot conceptions of human rights depend on metaphysical or theological assumptions that construe them as attainable purely as anything imposed from open air latest groups. most folk, in different phrases, presume that human rights come from nature, God, or the United countries. This publication argues that reliance on such putative assets really undermines human rights. Benjamin Gregg envisions an alternate; he sees human rights as in the community constructed, freely embraced, and indigenously legitimate. Human rights, he posits, will be created by means of the typical, usual humans to whom they're addressed, and they are legitimate provided that embraced by means of these to whom they might practice. To view human rights during this demeanour is to extend the probabilities and possibilities that extra humans around the globe will come to include them. [C:\Users\Microsoft\Documents\Calibre Library]

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Affiliation of this sort does not subordinate the individual to the group (with respect to the individual’s legal capacities and obligations). Rather, it operates in terms of relational symmetry: to each person it grants opportunities to lead an autonomous life. And to each it offers conditions for interaction with others on an equal basis. This approach allows political community to accord each person’s life a specific weight all its own. Community could do so by constructing individuals as possessing intrinsic value – rather than by appealing to some metaphysically intrinsic value.

19 It regards the universe, which humans can observe and understand in terms of natural causes and effects, as characterized exclusively by natural forces (such as mass and energy) and without inherent purpose or meaning. Such naturalism is as old as the pre-Socratic philosopher Thales. Subsequently it found support among some late medieval scholastics (including Jean Buridan and Nicole Oresme). In the modern age, Galileo and Voltaire, among many others, championed it. But unlike anyone from Thales to Voltaire and beyond, I extend this conception to an account of human rights by regarding human nature as it is biologically understood.

To be sure, this common insight, even with its prudential underpinnings of mutual benefit, hardly entails that all groups and individuals will always refrain from doing unto others what they would not want done unto themselves. But this insight may entail as much for some groups and some persons at least some of the time, and if so, it offers a basis for advocating human rights. It also allows that people may be prudentially motivated to embrace human rights. This prudential logic of mutual benefit is (a) universalistic along one dimension and (b) relativistic along another.

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