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Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights$
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Rowan Cruft, S. Matthew Liao, and Massimo Renzo

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199688623

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199688623.001.0001

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On the Foundations of Human Rights

On the Foundations of Human Rights

Chapter:
(p.45) 1 On the Foundations of Human Rights
Source:
Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights
Author(s):

John Tasioulas

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199688623.003.0002

This chapter distinguishes the contention that human rights have foundations from certain foundationalist deformations it is liable to undergo. It argues that there is a compelling interpretation of human dignity according to which it is a moral status, not a prudential value among others, but that this status does not consist in possession of a schedule of rights. Moreover, although human dignity lies at the foundations of human rights, it does not by itself exhaust those foundations; instead, human dignity characteristically operates in intimate union with a profile of universal human interests in generating human rights. Contrary to extreme foundationalists, the foundations of human rights are characterized by a value pluralism that embraces both moral and prudential elements. Human rights are grounded in the universal interests of human beings, each and every one of whom possesses an equal moral status arising from their common humanity.

Keywords:   human rights, foundationalism, foundation, human dignity, moral status, value pluralism

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