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Critical Theory in Critical TimesTransforming the Global Political and Economic Order$
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Penelope Deutscher and Cristina Lafont

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780231181518

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231181518.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

A Critical Theory of Human Rights—Some Groundwork

A Critical Theory of Human Rights—Some Groundwork

(p.74) 4 A Critical Theory of Human Rights—Some Groundwork
Critical Theory in Critical Times

Rainer Forst

Columbia University Press

Human rights are a complex phenomenon, comprising an array of different aspects: moral, legal, political, and social. A philosophical account of human rights must integrate each of these aspects in the right way. In this chapter, Forst sketches a critical theory of human rights as an alternative to mainstream accounts. His own account begins from the oft- neglected social aspect—the perspective of participants in social struggles against exploitation and oppression—and seeks to reconstruct the basic emancipatory claim of human rights. Human rights, Forst argues, have a common ground in one basic moral right, the right to justification, and their legal and political function is to make this right socially effective.

Keywords:   Critical theory, human rights, the right to justification, reflexive approach, functionalist approach, minimalist approach

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