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Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy


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Aflevering 3, 2016 Alle samenvattingen uitklappen
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Access_open Rainer Forst: The Justification of Basic Rights

Auteurs Bertjan Wolthuis, Elaine Mak en Lisette ten Haaf
Auteursinformatie

Bertjan Wolthuis
Bertjan Wolthuis is assistant professor at the Department of Legal Theory and Legal History, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Elaine Mak
Elaine Mak is professor of Jurisprudence at the Institute of Constitutional, Administrative Law and Legal Theory, Utrecht University

Lisette ten Haaf
Lisette ten Haaf is PhD candidate at the Department of Legal Theory and Legal History, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Artikel

Access_open The Justification of Basic Rights

A Discourse-Theoretical Approach

Trefwoorden Basic rights, Right to justification, Discourse theory, Non-domination, Kant
Auteurs Professor Rainer Forst
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this paper, I suggest a discourse theory of basic legal rights that is superior to rival approaches, such as a will-based or an interest-based theory of rights. Basic rights are reciprocally and generally justifiable and binding claims on others (agents or institutions) that they should do (or refrain from doing) certain things determined by the content of these rights. We call these rights basic because they define the status of persons as full members of a normative order in such a way that they provide protection from severe forms of legal, political and social domination. The very ground of these rights is the status of persons as free and equal normative authorities within the order they are subject to. In other words, these rights are grounded in a fundamental moral right to justification.


Professor Rainer Forst
Rainer Forst is professor of Political Theory and Philosophy at the Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main.
Artikel

Access_open Frankfurt Goes Kantian – But How Does It Work?

Trefwoorden Human dignity, Transcendental arguments, Discourse ethics, Kantian ethics, Human rights
Auteurs Prof. Dr. Marcus Düwell
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The paper discusses Forst’s discourse- theoretical adaption of the Kantian heritage. If Forst sees a Kantian concept of human dignity as the basis of his approach, he cannot rely on Habermas’ (quasi-)transcendental argument. It is furthermore questionable why Forst proposes that the content of human rights can only be determined in a procedural way. An alternative would be to determine the content from the normative starting point of human dignity.


Prof. Dr. Marcus Düwell
Marcus Düwell is professor of Philosophical Ethics and director of the Ethics Institute, Utrecht University.
Artikel

Access_open Two Sides of the Same Coin

Unpacking Rainer Forst’s Basic Right to Justification

Auteurs Stefan Rummens
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This paper makes two comments on Rainer Forst’s keynote contribution. It argues, first, that three important distinctions introduced by Forst are, in fact, all different versions of the more primary distinction between the a priori reconstruction of basic rights by philosophers and the discursive construction of basic rights by citizens. It proposes, secondly, an alternative discourse-theoretical reconstruction which makes a distinction between the basic right to justification and the basic right to choose your own ends as two different but inseparable rights – two sides of the same coin – which jointly provide the moral ground for our basic rights as citizens.


Stefan Rummens
Stefan Rummens is professor of Moral Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy of KU Leuven.
Artikel

Access_open On the Justification of Basic Rights

Trefwoorden Basic rights, Right to justification, Discourse theory, Considered judgements, Philosophical methodology
Auteurs Associate Professor Laura Valentini
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In his thought-provoking article, Rainer Forst develops a discourse-theoretical approach to the justification of basic rights, and argues that it is superior to interest-based and autonomy-based views. I cast doubt on the superiority of the discourse-theoretical approach. I suggest that, on reflection, the approach suffers from the same difficulties that Forst believes undermine rival views. My discussion raises broader questions about what desiderata a good justification of basic rights should satisfy.


Associate Professor Laura Valentini
Laura Valentini is associate professor of Political Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Artikel

Access_open The Justification of Basic Rights

A Response to Forst

Trefwoorden Basic rights, Justification, Kant
Auteurs Glen Newey PhD
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This paper responds to Rainer Forst’s article ‘The Justification of Basic Rights’. I argue that Forst's main thesis is difficult to pin down, partly because it is formulated in significantly distinct ways at numerous points. I offer a possible formulation of the argument but note that this encapsulates a fallacy; I further argue that his inference of the basic rights seems to imply an over-moralisation of social life and that his argument does not distinguish rights with discretionary and non-discretionary content. Then I query Forst’s claim that a right to justification is a condition of engaging in justificatory discourse. This leads to the conclusion that what goes into the process of justification, including who figures in the discursive community, are irreducibly political questions, whose answers cannot be convincingly specified antecedently by a form of moral legislation. I argue that actual discursive processes allow for considerably more contingency and contextual variability than Forst’s construction acknowledges. This extends, as I suggest in conclusion, to the idea that content can be specified via the Kantian notion that acceptability requires the ‘containment’ of an actor's ends by another, such as an affected party.


Glen Newey PhD
Glen Newey is professor of Political Philosophy and Ethics at Leiden University.
Artikel

Access_open What Does it Mean to Justify Basic Rights?

Reply to Düwell, Newey, Rummens and Valentini

Auteurs Professor Rainer Forst
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this paper, I reply to the four comments on my paper ‘The Justification of Basic Rights: A Discourse-Theoretical Approach’ given by Laura Valentini, Marcus Düwell, Stefan Rummens and Glen Newey.


Professor Rainer Forst
Professor of Political Theory and Philosophy at the Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main.