Rawlsian Constructivism and the Conception of Human Rights by Ladislav Hejdánek

Matej Cibik
University of Pardubice
In spite of the iron curtain looming large between western academics and their (often politically persecuted and institutionally detached) colleagues in the eastern bloc, some intellectual developments bear striking similarities. This paper analyses one of them: the conception of human rights by Ladislav Hejdánek as opposed to Kantian constructivism, which was developed in the “west” by John Rawls and others. Both Rawls and Hejdánek, who was one of the philosophical heavyweights of Czech dissent, are moved by very similar concerns: the need to ground objective values without falling into utilitarianism or some (other) form of naïve ethical objectivism. They view political values as constructed and yet objective, not given but still sound. Given the immense difference in their professional position and philosophical style, this indicates a truly interesting case of a unity of concern bridging the east and the west, even under very unfavorable political conditions.
Keywords human rights  Rawls  Hejdánek  constructivism  value theory
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