Between given and created value : Finding new grounds for justifying human rights

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Uppsala universitet/Teologiska institutionen

Sammanfattning: This thesis aims at formulating a human rights justification based on the assumption that disbelief in human rights is found in communicative grounds, rather than some sort of unreasonable evil. I first identify what I believe to be a flaw in the communicative strength of existing human rights justifications in explaining why rights should be. I suggest that there is a gap between the justifications of human rights that contain metaphysical narrative, and the justifications that rely on subjective experience of rights as good. I further explain how this is a gap that political consensus and the idea of Kantian moral reason cannot seem to fill. I subsequently boil this gap down to the concept of value, since the foundation for each justification is based on a type of value. These are categorized as either given value – which applies to all attributes of value that is “given” to us independently of our actions or opinions, or created value – which applies to all attributes of value that stem from social interaction (thus action) and experience. As justifications are funneled into either of these two categories of value, it begins to look like no other type of value exist, and as a result no one looks for it. To respond to this problem, I formulate a philosophical explanation, in Robert Nozicks terms. This explanation shows that there may be other routes to apply to value than sticking to simply given or created value. My explanation utilizes the three theories of philosophical anthropology, internal metaphysical realism and Wittgensteins philosophy of language, and it is based on the result of an analysis of material consisting of human rights justification arguments by Nicholas Wolterstorff, Alasdaire MacIntyre, Martha Nussbaum and Richard Rorty. The actual philosophical explanation I formulate utilizes the metaphysics of Helen Steward to provide a given-value foundation for the primitive reactions of Stefan Eriksson, which creates value through social organization. Overall, I find that there are untried possibilities which may allow for a different type of value to act as the foundation for a human rights justification. My contribution to the field rests in the novelty of the theories used in my explanation, and the angle of the problem formulation.  

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