Theoretical foundations for human rights
This article explores an alternative to the established dichotomy between philosophical (natural law) accounts of human rights, characterized by a foundationalist tendency, and political (practice-based) accounts of human rights, which aspire to be non-foundationalist. I argue that in order to justify human rights practice, political accounts of human rights cannot do without the support of theoretical foundations, although not necessarily of the natural-law variety. As an alternative to natural-law metaphysics, a deflationary theory of human rights, based on a deflationary account of truth, is put forward. Starting from a distinction between ‘extreme’ and ‘moderate’ forms of deflationism, this article defends a constructivist theory of human rights grounded on the Humean notion of conventionalism. This innovative approach to human rights provides political conceptions of human rights with the foundations (or quasi-foundations) they need, but are currently lacking.
Deflationary , Truth , Foundationalism , Human rights , Foundations , Deflationism , Hume , Conventionalism
Bufacchi, V. (2018) 'Theoretical Foundations for Human Rights', Political Studies, In Press. doi:10.1177/0032321717723510
© 2018 by Political Studies Association. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.