Two notions of humanity and the judgment argument for human rights

Political Theory 31 (3):392-420 (2003)
Abstract
This essay is about the difficulties connected with grounding human rights philosophically in a multicultural context. These difficulties are argued to derive from the tension between our aspiration to universal validity and our shared belief in the constitutive role of life-forms, traditions, cultures, and vocabularies vis-à-vis our conceptions of justice. Rawls's and Habermas's approaches to the justification of human rights are then briefly reconstructed and assessed. A symmetrical distribution of strong and weak points is argued to obtain. In the light of this reconstruction, the author explores the potential of his judgment view of justice for providing a justification of the universality of human rights not vulnerable to the difficulties of the other examined approaches
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