Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Talk at Bogazici, Thomas Besch (Sydney), “On the Right to Justification and Discursive Respect”

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Thursday, July 17th, 3-5pm, TB 130 (Anderson Hall).


Rainer Forst’s constructivism aspires to justify human rights on categorical, reasonably non-rejectable grounds. It is a key objective of his approach to provide an alternative to “ethical” accounts that justify these rights hypothetically on grounds that (allegedly) can reasonably be rejected. I argue that Forst’s constructivism does not achieve that objective. To this end, I engage two lines of thought at its centre: one builds on a view to the effect that respect for other people commits us to accord them a right to justification, the other revolves around the theme that our validity claims commit us to justifications by a constructivist standard of reciprocity and generality. Yet none of this can yield the sought-after categorical grounding of human rights. At most, it yields a hypothetical justification on grounds that can reasonably be rejected – namely, a commitment to the good of constitutive discursive standing. Taking this to be an important good may be plausible to many, but it stands in need of justification: this opens the door wide for “ethical” arguments.


Written by markedwardsteen

July 8, 2014 at 10:24 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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