Publication details

The Problem of Recognition of Human Rights: Does Explicative-Existential Justification Really Work?


HAPLA Martin

Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Archiwum Filozofii Prawa i Filozofii Społecznej: Journal of the Polish Section of IVR
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Law

Keywords Human rights; justification; explicative-existential justification; is-ought problem; universality of human rights
Description This paper analyses Robert Alexy's explicative-existential justification of human rights. The author identifies several problems that are associated with it. An analysis of Alexy's explicative argument suggests that it cannot cope with the transition from facts to norms. Notably, this argument does not explain why its requirements cannot be overruled by some other moral reason (for example, the utility principle). The answer that Alexy offers in his existential argument is not considered sufficient by the author of this paper. Although this argument complements the necessary normative premises, the existential decision preferred by Alexy is not the only one necessary. It can be admitted that for many people such a decision is attractive. However, even if we accept that explicative-existential justification is credible in some context, it is correct to apply it only to the rights of persons and not to the rights of human beings. In the final part, the author shows that the claim that this theory can justify even the rights of human beings who are not persons is indefensible.
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