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Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie

Zweimonatsschrift der internationalen philosophischen Forschung

Ed. by Demmerling, Christoph / Esser, Andrea Marlen / Krüger, Hans-Peter / Menke, Christoph

CiteScore 2017: 0.05

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.116
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.050

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Volume 65, Issue 1


Kann personale Heiligkeit Menschenrechte fördern?

Anton Leist
Published Online: 2017-02-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/dzph-2017-0008


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.

Keywords: sacredness of persons; human rights; pragmatism; Rorty; transformation of religion


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About the article

Published Online: 2017-02-13

Published in Print: 2017-02-01

Citation Information: Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie, Volume 65, Issue 1, Pages 106–129, ISSN (Online) 2192-1482, ISSN (Print) 0012-1045, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/dzph-2017-0008.

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