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Rorty and Human Rights


Human rights are often thought to be "natural" in the sense that human beings possess them independently of any human agreements or social conventions. One's humanity itself and that alone is supposed to ground such rights. Clearly this supposition stands in need of justification. Rorty believes that it cannot be justified. In his view there are no morally relevant "transcultural facts". Thus the transcultural fact of one's humanity cannot ground human rights. Nonetheless, he believes, we should welcome and promote what Eduardo Rabossi refers to as our "human rights culture", which works to counteract the kind of dehumanization that often accompanies the maltreatment of some human beings by others.

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