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Document Details :

Title: Universele rechten en expliciete principes
Subtitle: Universal Rights and Explicit Principles
Author(s): BURMS, Arnold
Journal: Bijdragen
Volume: 58    Issue: 2   Date: 1997   
Pages: 144-152
DOI: 10.2143/BIJ.58.2.2002394

Abstract :
Ir is argued that the point of the ideal of human rights is to protect individuals against oppressive regimes or cruel traditions. This negative description should not be converted into a positive one: it would be wrong to speak in terms of human rights about whatever people need in order to have meaningful lives. The reason why many philosophers are tempted to make that wrong move is that two kinds of individualism are easily conflated. The thesis that individuals should not be oppressed because of their choices or commitments is translated into the (very different) thesis that freedom of individual choice should be maximized. The ideal of individual autonomy which manifests itself in the latter thesis is also at the origin of the belief that our moral intuitions should be justified in terms of the principles we consciously and explicitely endorse. The author argues that this belief has implications which are unacceptable to (practically) anybody.