SOPhiA 2017

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Metaphysical Grounding in Foundations of Human Rights
(Philosophy of Law, English)

The aim of this paper is to analyze whether the explanation of foundations of human rights and relations between objects that are postulated to justify their existence (human nature, human dignity) is possible in terms of metaphysical grounding.

Discussing foundations of human rights in the light of grounding can be valuable epistemically both for human rights philosophers and grounding theoreticians. Concerning human rights theory, applying grounding into discourse on foundations of human rights may give more precise and intelligible tool in understanding relations between objects which are postulated to be fundaments for human rights. On the other hand, metaphysical discussion on grounding seems to suffer on the lack of practical applications of grounding, which could sharpen the notion of grounding due to some less logical and purely ontological investigations. Last but not least, one of the charge of sceptics about grounding is that it has no or few examples to employ.

In the discussion on foundations of human rights one can often meet statements like: ''human rights are possessed in virtue of humanity'' (Tasioulas 2013) or ''human rights are rights that humans have simply in virtue of being human'' (Gardner 2008). In metaphysics it is claimed that ''in virtue'' phrase expresses the relation of metaphysical grounding, however, philosophy of law has not introduced metaphysical grounding into explaining fundaments of human rights.

In the first part, I will present shortly main classical theory of foundations of human rights, which claims that human rights exist in virtue of some substantive aspect. Next, there will be shown drawbacks of classical justification based on is/ought distinction.

In the second part, I will demonstrate core issues concerning grounding. Especially, I will discuss questionable features of grounding that are significant in human rights justification. These will be (1) possibility of normative grounding (e.g. Vayrynen 2013); (2) primitivity of grounding or possibility of its further analyzing; (3) problem of transitivity with division on full and partial ground and (4) explanatory role and force of grounding.

In the third, I will look at foundations of human rights by means of grounding with strong emphasize on four above mentioned problems and analyze whether grounding suits well as relation between human rights and objects that are their fundaments. Finally, conclusions on metaphysics and justification of human rights as well as grounding will be drawn.


Chair: Florian Wieczorek
Time: 10:00-10:30, 15 September 2017 (Friday)
Location: HS E.002

Szymon Mazurkiewicz 
(Jagiellonian University, Poland)

Fifth year MA in Law student on Jagiellonian University (Cracow, Poland) and first year BA in Philosophy on Jagiellonian University. An active participant of academic movement (e.g. President of the Audit Committee in Student Research Groups Association on Faculty of Law in 2015/2016 year; Associate (till 2014) and Vice-President (2015/2016) of Student Research Group of Philosophy of Law). Author of 6 papers concerning mainly philosophy of human rights and international law and numerous presentations on conferences. Awarded by Polish Minister of Science and Higher Education with Academic Scholarship for Distinguished Academic Achievements in 2016 and four time by Jagiellonian University Rector with Academic Scholarship for Best Students. After finishing MA in Law on June 2017 planning begin PhD in Law (specializing in philosophy of law) on Jagiellonian University and judicial legal apprenticeship in National School of Judiciary and Public Prosecution.

Testability and Meaning deco