Metaphilosophy 41 (4):464-480 (2010)

Authors
Jürgen Habermas
Heidelberg University
Abstract
Abstract: Human rights developed in response to specific violations of human dignity, and can therefore be conceived as specifications of human dignity, their moral source. This internal relationship explains the moral content and moreover the distinguishing feature of human rights: they are designed for an effective implementation of the core moral values of an egalitarian universalism in terms of coercive law. This essay is an attempt to explain this moral-legal Janus face of human rights through the mediating role of the concept of human dignity. This concept is due to a remarkable generalization of the particularistic meanings of those "dignities" that once were attached to specific honorific functions and memberships. In spite of its abstract meaning, "human dignity" still retains from its particularistic precursor concepts the connotation of depending on the social recognition of a status—in this case, the status of democratic citizenship. Only membership in a constitutional political community can protect, by granting equal rights, the equal human dignity of everybody.
Keywords Kant  human rights  collective  civil rights  individual  conceptual connection  morality  liberal rights  legal duty  legal concept  human dignity
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9973.2010.01648.x
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References found in this work BETA

The Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1797/1996 - Cambridge University Press.
Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1785 - In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Late Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary. Blackwell.
Toward a Political Conception of Human Rights.Kenneth Baynes - 2009 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 35 (4):371-390.

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Citations of this work BETA

Kantian Ethics, Dignity and Perfection.Paul Formosa - 2017 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Human Rights Without Human Supremacism.Will Kymlicka - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (6):763-792.
Art, Ethics and the Promotion of Human Dignity.Nicola M. Pless, Thomas Maak & Howard Harris - 2017 - Journal of Business Ethics 144 (2):223-232.

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