Archives For human rights

Author Information: Robert D’Amico, University of Florida, rdamico@ufl.edu

D’Amico, Robert. “Arguments Concerning Ethical Realism and Rights: A Further Reply to Corlett.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 5, no. 6 (2016): 50-51.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-34j

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Image credit: William Murphy, via flickr

In my “Reply to Corlett’s ‘Searle on Human Rights’” I said I was “perplexed” by his central criticism of Searle. Then concerning a specific point of his criticism of Searle I wrote that either “I didn’t understand this point” or “it was not fully explained in the article.” Furthermore I said that his reading of Searle was “uncharitable.” I consider these expressions polite if not even mild ways of stating disagreements. Disagreement is after all the life of philosophy, but of course one should not then be disagreeable.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: J. Angelo Corlett, San Diego State University, acorlett@mail.sdsu.edu

Corlett, J. Angelo. “On Searle on Human Rights, Again!” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 5, no. 5 (2016): 41-46.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-307

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Image credit: UN Geneva, via flickr

With regard to my article “Searle on Human Rights” (Corlett 2016), I have been accused of “misunderstanding” John Searle’s conception of human rights due to an “uncharitable” interpretation of Searle’s view as it is articulated in Searle (2010, chapter 8). Furthermore, it is found “puzzling” (even “perplexing”) why the set of concerns were raised therein pertinent to Searle’s view of human rights (D’Amico 2016). But this criticism, ironically, uncharitably misattributes to me an absurdly false position, one that I implicitly rejected in Corlett (2016) and have elsewhere explicitly rejected, and for good reason.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Robert D’Amico, University of Florida, rdamico@ufl.edu

D’Amico, Robert. “Reply to Corlett’s ‘Searle on Human Rights.’” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 5, no. 5 (2016): 30-36.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-2XI

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Image credit: fotogake, via flickr

J. Angelo Corlett in “Searle on Human Rights”[1] outlines a summary of Searle’s work on social theory so as to then mount a criticism of Searle’s lecture “Human Rights.”[2] I find Corlett’s criticism of Searle quite perplexing and based on an uncharitable reading of what Searle states as his view. The aims of my reply are as follows. First, I provide a very brief account of what Searle means when he describes his ontology as naturalistic and thus what ethical naturalism must come to for Searle. Second, I explain why Corlett’s criticism is perplexing in view of Corlett’s own discussion of Searle. I suggest how to reformulate Corlett’s point by looking more closely at a passage from Searle’s lecture that does address at least a version of Corlett’s objection. Finally, I conclude that though Searle’s defense of human rights does raise some problems for his sketch of ethical naturalism, that problem has two possible responses. Either the concept of human rights is otiose or ethical naturalism fails. I am not sure that this choice captures Corlett’s intent, but it is the only plausible reading of his criticism in my view.[3]  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Jessica Tatchell, University of Warwick, j.tatchell@warwick.ac.uk

Tatchell, Jessica. “Making Human Rights Fit for the 21st Century: The Challenge of Morphological Freedom.” [1] Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 8 (2015): 34-39.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-2e5

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Image credit: University of Essex, via flickr

Many strong and valid arguments against the idea of human rights exist. Is it right, for example, to assume universality; that is, do all human beings in all societies require and/or desire the same rights? Are these universal rights predicated on Western values and norms, leading to discriminatory behaviour towards those who do not fit this Christian ideal of human nature (Walker 2015)? Furthermore, is it feasibly possible to legally enforce and protect the rights of individuals on a global scale without contradicting principles of national sovereignty (Fagen 2009)? These are indeed pressing issues worthy of consideration. However, this essay aims to present the argument that our contemporary notion of human rights is not fit for the 21st century. It is not an argument against the idea of a system of rights that morally and/or legally has the intention of protecting humanity, but rather, human rights as it exists in its present form needs to respond and adapt to the emerging needs of present and future generations.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Lyudmila A Markova, Russian Academy of Sciences, markova.lyudmila2013@yandex.ru

Markova, Lyudmila A. “Understanding, Not Only Cognition.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 5 (2014): 52-55.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-1pP

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Introduction

Recently, we discussed the idea of the surrounding world as able to perceive and to think. If the whole world is alive, we can converse with each thing as if it is a living creature. Of course, humans pay special attention to non-human animals [1] that we understand as having the highest level of intellect. But many questions arise. Can we see animals as our equals? Can animals have the same rights we have? Do animals need “our rights” or, perhaps, are their lives unique so as to obey other norms of behavior? I confess that when I first read the articles on this topic on the Review and Reply Collective, I did understand the importance of the discussion. The discussion seemed only to pretend to make philosophical sense. However, my opinion changed when I read the articles again and the response of Gregory Sandstrom to my previous comment. I am now convinced of the usefulness of these discussions.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Gregory Sandstrom, European Humanities University and Lithuanian Research Council, gregory.sandstrom@ehu.lt

Sandstrom, Gregory. “Human Satellites and Creative Extension.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 3 (2014): 60-63.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-1l7

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This is a response to Lyudmila A. Markova’s engaging piece on “The Humanisation of the Surrounding World and the Technisation of Humans.” She notes at the start that “several interesting topics” (49) have recently been posted on SERRC, which she says are interdependent and which “cannot be considered without referring to the others” (49). I agree with her on this, though I would like to have (or to still see) included cybernetics and systems theory as well, even though their reputation is not always stellar in some contexts.

On the issue of human rights for animals, I guess I’m just not Singerian enough or ‘species egalitarian’ in a Darwinian sense. Markova states her position, saying “I believe that it is impossible to spread human laws into the animal world” (51). She notes that this is a disagreement with Steve Fuller’s position of extending (i.e. stretching out) rights to animals, though I’m not sure if this is the case or not. Her position is that “Human rights should not be considered desirable for all animals.” But this can be challenged if the boundaries between humans and animals disappear, or if they are re-imagined, closer for example to an Indigenous worldview where humans and animals are traditionally more symbiotic. I’d be pleased to hear more about Fuller’s current position on this, as I had thought in The New Sociological Imagination (NSI; see also Sandstrom 2008) that he had taken a stance opposed to Singer’s accusation of ‘speciesism,’ the Darwinisation and biological reductionism of some human-social thought, wherein humanity is considered as a kind of ‘endangered species.’  Continue Reading…