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On Human Rights Culture (PART II)

Mr. Joefer Maninang
University of Mindanao

Rorty’s pragmatic stance on human rights, on the other hand, conceives the human being as “a centreless web of historically conditioned beliefs and desires” and from this conception we follow Rorty’s assumption of the existence of the human rights culture. Historically conditioned by the Holocaust, the human rights culture expresses the common ‘beliefs and desires’ of some of us which is basically the respect for human rights. But beside this culture are other cultures that have their own beliefs and desires that do not respect human rights. People who belong in these cultures are the human rights violators. For Rorty, violators have to be integrated in the human rights culture and the efficient way to do it is through sentimentalism.

On Human Rights Culture (PART I)

Mr. Joefer Maninang
University of Mindanao

In his celebrated essay Human Rights, Rationality, and Sentimentality American philosopher Richard Mckay Rorty (1931-2007) uses a pragmatic approach to the subject of human rights. He claims that what really make people respect or deny human rights are their life circumstances . In attempting to elucidate this claim, I wish to accomplish three (3) things in this article: firstly, I will present a hopefully fair Rortian conception of human rights to introduce the culture of impunity as our indifferent, apathetic, and passive sort of response to the culture of the death squad. Secondly, I will try to demonstrate sentimentalism through the definite meaning of sympathy vis-à-vis security or the life circumstances which make us respect or deny human rights. Thirdly and finally, I will conclude by stressing sentimentalism as the practical or perhaps the only way of addressing the problem of human rights violations.