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Josef Seifert

What is the most fundamental human right? Part 3: Three contenders

May. 4, 2013, at 11:13am

We have said that in a certain sense the right to life is the most fundamental and basic natural human right. Now we have to clarify in which sense this is true and which are other points of view perceived from which it is not the most fundamental one, and whether these other points of view to determine the most basic human right are more foundational or fundamental ones. We will here omit the purely historical point of view, which basic human right was the first one to be included in a modern human rights catalogue because we do not deem this question to be relevant for our analysis. (From this point of view, at least if one prescinds from all ancient and early medieval human rights

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Katie van Schaijik

Personal dignity and belonging

Jun. 8, 2012, at 11:21am

My internet habit seems to have decimated my ability (never very marked) to finish books.  I begin them; put them down; pick them up; read a few pages; put them down...

Among the many lying half-read around the house is Tom Bethell's biography of Eric Hoffer, The Longshoreman Philosopher.  Hoffer is a mysterious character who emerged from complete obscurity to become a major intellectual influence in Cold War America, beginning with his 1951 best-selling book on the nature of mass movements, The True Believer.

I picked it up again (I mean the biography) this morning while I drank my coffee.  These lines so arrested my attention that I put the book down again—to think, and write a post

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Jules van Schaijik

Are we all equal, i.e. equally worthless?

Oct. 22, 2010, at 1:49pm

Utilitarianism, in one form or another, has a serious grip on the contemporary mind. No matter how logically compelling the arguments against it may be, or how often they are repeated, the habit of utilitarian thinking seems to prevail unchecked. I even notice the problem in my own mind. In spite of my rejection of the theory, both morally and intellectually, I find it all too easy to sympathize with the likes of Jack Bauer who are willing to break any and every moral principle as long as the results seem to justify it.


I also see the problem in my students. Some of them are unabashed utilitarians. They agree that euthasia, torture, cannibalism, etc., are undesirable in themselves, but

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