The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 3, 2007

Human Rights

Georgia Apostolopoulou
Pages 151-156

Toward a Hermeneutic Anthropology of Human Rights

The hermeneutic anthropology of human rights is a possible anthropology before human rights. It does not aim at a deductive demonstration of the validity of human rights, but it delivers a hermeneutic justification of them by taking into account the a priori link of self-understanding with living body. Three aspects are most relevant in this case: a) The human person not only exists, but also has a value which is recognized within the shared world of persons. The embodied presence of persons is affirmed beyond pure facticity through the meta-grammatical terms " I " , "you" and "we". This mutual affirmation as an act of freedom indicates the primordial value of dignity, b) The human person has to arrange its uncertainty as a living being. It has to prevail over nature, in order to create an order of life. This consciousness of being able to act is the source of power. Nevertheless, power is produced as a kind of surplus through social interaction. The tension between power and recognition is always renewed and remains an open question for society, c) Human rights introduce moral demands on power. They define the political order of the society in such a way that the citizens can carry out their plan of life. Furthermore, they preserve the awareness of the limits, since human dignity indicates that the embodied presence of the human person and its world-character should not be defined apart from freedom and recognition.