The Principle of Generic Consistency as the Supreme Principle of Human Rights

Human Rights Review 13 (1):1-18 (2012)
Deryck Beyleveld
Utrecht University
Alan Gewirth’s claim that agents contradict that they are agents if they do not accept that the principle of generic consistency (PGC) is the supreme principle of practical rationality has been greeted with widespread scepticism. The aim of this article is not to defend this claim but to show that if the first and least controversial of the three stages of Gewirth’s argument for the PGC is sound, then agents must interpret and give effect to human rights in ways consistent with the PGC, or deny that human beings are equal in dignity and rights (which idea defines human rights) or that they are agents (and hence subject to any rules at all). Implications for the interpretation of the international legal system of human rights inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 are sketched
Keywords Human rights  Gewirth  Kant  Principle of generic consistency
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s12142-011-0210-2
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 36,003
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Morals by Agreement.David Gauthier - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1785/2002 - Oxford University Press.
Reason and Morality.Alan Gewirth - 1968 - University of Chicago Press.
[Book Review] the Community of Rights. [REVIEW]Alan Gewirth - 1999 - Business Ethics Quarterly 9 (2):361-375.

View all 13 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Gewirth and Adams on the Foundation of Morality.William M. O'Meara - 1982 - Philosophy Research Archives 8:367-381.
Gewirth and Categorial Consistency.N. Fotion - 1968 - Philosophical Quarterly 18 (72):262-264.
Human Rights and Human Well-Being.William Talbott - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
Human Rights Without Foundations.Joseph Raz - 2010 - In J. Tasioulas & S. Besson (eds.), The Philosphy of International Law. Oxford University Press.
Brand Blanshard and Gewirth.John Howie - 1990 - Idealistic Studies 20 (2):155-168.
Human Dignity and Human Rights as a Common Ground for a Global Bioethics.R. Andorno - 2009 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 34 (3):223-240.
Human Rights and Human Dignity.Doris Schroeder - 2012 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (3):323-335.
Human Rights and Human Dignity: An Appeal to Separate the Conjoined Twins.Doris Schroeder - 2012 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (3):323 - 335.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
23 ( #274,349 of 2,293,951 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #88,490 of 2,293,951 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature