Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter (A) February 13, 2017

Kann personale Heiligkeit Menschenrechte fördern?

Anton Leist

Abstract

Could it be that human rights have come into existence not, as standard history would have it, by the discovery of ‘human reason,’ but rather through the influence of a religion-based ‘sacredness’ of the human person? This is what Hans Joas in his book The Sacredness of the Person: A New Genealogy of Human Rights suggests. On closer inspection, even following the laborious navigation through definitions and methodological preliminaries required for such a dispute, the thesis looks anything but plausible. Since Joas highlights his own method as ‘pragmatist,’ it is necessary to distinguish between different versions of the pragmatist project – the conclusion being that a plausible ‘naturalist’ version of pragmatism conflicts with the Jamesian variant of a religious pragmatism à la Joas. Also, it is suggested that sacredness of persons, even if hypothetically accepted, would become redundant in a justification of human rights, the latter being based on the average interests of ordinary people. The pragmatist quest for a belief in God that can be sublimated into something human remains inconclusive.

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Published Online: 2017-2-13
Published in Print: 2017-2-1

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