Theories of Universal Human Rights and the Individual’s Perspective
Keywords:cultural relativism, human rights, individual, political theory, Rainer Forst, Richard Rorty, right to justification, sentimental education, universality
The current scientific debate about the universality of human rights can be structured into a horizontal and a vertical dimension. Whereas the horizontal dimension is about the different ways one can approach the topic “human rights” from different disciplines, the vertical dimension is dealing with the fundamental question whether human rights are universal or particularistic. However, the debate lacks the view of the most important group: the individual human being. Consequently, this paper aims to bring the individual’s perspective on universal human rights into focus by a) striking a balance between universal and particularistic views on human rights and b) building on a realistic human nature in order to understand and embrace the individual’s conviction. The approach meeting these two criteria is a combination of Rainer Forst’s “right to justification” and Richard Rorty’s “sentimental education”. This is the only way to an individually backed and culturally sensitive universality.
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