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Constituting Economic and Social Rights$
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Katharine G. Young

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199641932

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199641932.001.0001

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Interpretive Standpoints

Interpretive Standpoints

Chapter:
(p.33) 2 Interpretive Standpoints
Source:
Constituting Economic and Social Rights
Author(s):

Katharine G. Young

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199641932.003.0002

Part I of this book aims to expand our understanding of the scale of interpretative possibilities that accompany economic and social rights. This chapter advances two interpretive theories: those of rationalism and consensualism. Both are found in the interpretations of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and of constitutions found protective of economic and social rights, such as in South Africa, Canada, Germany and India. The chapter examines the rationalist privileging of human dignity or of the basic needs required for survival. It contrasts this with an interpretive approach that looks to the consensus reached by a majority of states (in international law) or constituents (in constitutional law). Neither standpoint provides a fully determinate answer, particularly in light of the notion of reasonable disagreement. The ways in which the two standpoints are reconcilable are suggested

Keywords:   rights-interpretation, rationalism, consensualism, human dignity, basic needs, survival, reasonable disagreement

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