Is Vulnerability the Foundation of Human Rights?

Andorno, Roberto. (2016) Is Vulnerability the Foundation of Human Rights? In: Human Dignity of the Vulnerable in the Age of Rights. Cham, pp. 257-272.

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The chapter begins by describing the various understandings of vulnerability in ethical and legal discourse. The discussion then proceeds to outline the central place of vulnerability in the work of some contemporary thinkers such as Levinas, Ricoeur, Rorty, Goodin, and Turner. This is followed by asking whether vulnerability can be regarded as the foundation of human rights. It is argued that, although the devastating nature of the Second World War led to a heightened awareness of human vulnerability and played an important role in the recognition of universal human rights, it is not vulnerability as such but human dignity that provides the normative foundation for human rights. Finally, the chapter claims that the notion of vulnerability can be applied not only to existing individuals, but also to humankind as a whole. Techniques like germline interventions and human reproductive cloning may indeed jeopardize basic features of the human species and our understanding of what it means to be “human.”
Faculties and Departments:08 Cross-disciplinary Subjects > Ethik > Institut für Bio- und Medizinethik > Bio- und Medizinethik (Elger)
03 Faculty of Medicine > Departement Public Health > Ethik in der Medizin > Bio- und Medizinethik (Elger)
UniBasel Contributors:Andorno, Roberto
Item Type:Book Section, refereed
Book Section Subtype:Further Contribution in a Book
Series Name:Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice
Issue Number:55
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Book item
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Last Modified:13 Apr 2018 06:16
Deposited On:10 Jul 2017 15:46

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