Publication details

Explicative-Existential Justification of Human Rights. Analysis of Robert Alexy's Argument in Context of Is-Ought Problem


HAPLA Martin

Year of publication 2020
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source The Age of Human Rights Journal
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Law

Web Open access časopisu
Keywords Human rights; justification; explicative-existential justification; is-ought problem; universality of human rights
Description This paper analyzes Robert Alexy’s explicative-existential justification of human rights. According to the author, there are two problems connected with this concept. It cannot establish human rights universally and explain why we should accept them. In the paper, these questions are addressed in the context of the Is-Ought problem. Alexy’s approach is compared with other theories that strive for human rights justification (basic needs approach, capability approach, and the foundationalism of Alan Gewirth). The author finds that in this respect all other theories have similar disadvantages. The inability to adequately elucidate the transition from Is to Ought is a general problem in moral philosophy, and therefore cannot diminish the position of Alexy’s justification in this context. Although his approach does not really meet certain absolute requirements for good justification, if we evaluate it in relation to other available alternatives, we have to acknowledge its significant place in the philosophy of human rights. Even with Alexy’s theory, however, the problem persists that it establishes rights of human persons rather than rights of human beings. It is therefore not able to fulfill some of its universalist aspirations.
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