A Way Out of the Seventeenth-Century: Human Rights Beyond Modernities
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The ethnocentric legacy of human rights discourse is expressed in individualistic legal and moral approaches that inform most philosophical reflections on human rights. I will sketch a path towards a broader theoretical framework that can better sustain and articulate human rights claims of human dignity and well-being. For this purpose, I reconsider human rights discourse within the general modern context. In particular, I describe human rights entitlement as an instance of a fundamentalist modern approach that is constructed upon supposedly objective facts that assume the value-free order of nature. I underscore that acknowledging the performativity of science can assist to disentangle contemporary thought in general, and human rights discourse in particular, from modern fundamentalist assumptions. Finally, I suggest that we reconceptualise human rights as the result of negotiation processes, in which all humans are potential stakeholders.
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