What is Human, What is Right?June 28, 2021
The concept of “human rights” brings together two concepts whose content is uncertain and controversial, the concepts of “human” and “right”. Talking about human rights is only possible with a human understanding.
Based on a certain understanding of human being – by understanding a certain thing from “being human” – “rights” or “rights” are reached. As with all other rights, human rights are based on the fact that human beings are beings with certain characteristics. For this reason, talking about human rights always presupposes a certain human concept or understanding of human being. If there are no features that all people have in common – at least some predispositions or possibilities, potentials, etc. – it will not be possible to talk about the rights derived from this structure.
“What is a human?”, “What are the distinctive features of humans?” Philosophical Anthropology or Human Philosophy is the branch of philosophy that takes it as a problem to reveal what a human being is (what it is, its structure, its “essence”) with questions such as:
“The term human rights refers both to the nature and source of these rights. These are rights that a person has just because he is a human being. These rights are the rights of all human beings, regardless of the rights and duties that individuals may have (or may not have) as citizens, family members, workers, or members of any public or private organization or union.
If all people have these rights simply because they are human, then people are equal in having these rights. Human rights are inviolable, as being human cannot be abandoned, lost, or reclaimed by punishment. Both the cruelest torturer and the worst victim are still human” (Donnelly 2007, p. 21).
Compiled by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology Lecture Notes for Grade 1 “Introduction to Philosophy” and Grade 3 “History of Contemporary Philosophy” (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook