Il linguaggio dei diritti tra inflazione e scetticismo
Following the XVIII century Declarations, rights have progressively occupied the whole space of legal, political and moral debate; with the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights, the language of rights has been established as a universal ground for expressing human needs and claims, despite allegations of Western ethnocentrism. Rights are an indispensable tool for expressing the value of human dignity, because they allow right-holders to claim certain actions as due to them: they endow the individuals with a moral authority, the absence of which would dramatically impoverish moral (political, legal) discourse. However, 1) the abuse and uncontrolled proliferation of rights talk threatens such language with inflation. Moreover, 2) not all plausible moral concerns can be expressed in terms of rights, since rights presuppose an individualist anthropology and are particularly well-suited to situations in which individuals can be seen as both independent and equal: in situations where individuals depend on others and have little or no power of negotiation, values like respect and dignity cannot be adequately expressed by rights language. Finally, 3) if we reduce all moral discourse to rights talk, we are unable to ascribe the due importance to values like autonomy, which presuppose collective goods. A reasonable use of rights language would avoid such shortcomings, although this seems to conflict with the basic tenets of some so-called “right-based” ethical theories.
Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics
XV (2013) 1
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Francesco Ferraro, "Il linguaggio dei diritti tra inflazione e scetticismo", in: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics, XV (2013) 1, pp. 25-51.