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Orthodox and Political/practical Views of Human Rights. A Possible Mediation

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A major issue in the philosophy of human rights today concerns the divide between the orthodox and the political/practical view. The former focuses on and emphasizes the moral dimension of human rights, the latter their political/legal function. The present article displays the main strengths and weaknesses of each competing conception by providing a thorough analysis of all relevant theoretical aspects of the issue as well as of its practical significance. It then sustains that a compelling theory should include a social conception of human dignity in the grammar of human rights - as suggested by Buchanan's and Forst's interpretations - which takes into due consideration the equal status of human beings, and in doing so it is able to reveal all the complexity of the notion of human dignity, in particular in its intersubjective dimension. Thus, we might obtain an essential mediation between the moral dimension and political/legal function of human rights, in a way that covers almost entirely the list of human rights as it is spelled out in the major official documents, and secures adequate normative force for their justification.


  • Human Rights
  • Orthodox View
  • Political/Practical View
  • Human Dignity
  • State Sovereignty


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