Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xii

Readers may understand this book better if they know something about its lengthy genesis. The basic idea was directly inspired by the two books I wrote in the second half of the 1990s (The Genesis of Values and War and Modernity). I wished to test out the theory presented in the first of these books, which centers on the genesis of value...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-8

This book deals with the history of human rights and the problem of their justification. But it provides neither a comprehensive intellectual or legal history nor a new philosophical justification for the idea of universal human dignity and the human rights based upon it. Anyone harboring such expectations will be disappointed. This is not...

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1. The Charisma of Reason: The Genesis of Human Rights

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pp. 9-36

If we look at the vast literature on the prehistory and history of human rights, the defining impression is that “success has many parents.” The triumphal march of human rights is undoubtedly one of the great success stories in the realm of values and norms. Even those inclined toward skepticism in light of the many conspicuous cases...

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2. Punishment and Respect: The Sacralization of the Person and the Forces Threatening It

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pp. 37-68

The first step in developing my argument was to examine in detail the emergence of the first human rights declarations in the late eighteenth century. I suggested that while we must understand these declarations as concretely as possible in light of their highly contingent contexts of emergence, we will do justice to them only if we also grasp...

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3. Violence and Human Dignity: How Experiences Become Rights

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pp. 69-96

A commitment to values may stem from experiences that fill us with enthusiasm. When we have a sense of having clearly recognized what is good, we feel the urge to bestow this knowledge on others, to get them to rethink or change how they act; we also wish to translate our ardent belief into actions. But it is not just galvanizing experiences...

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4. Neither Kant Nor Nietzsche: What Is Affirmative Genealogy?

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pp. 97-139

I briefly explained the concept of “affirmative genealogy” in the introduction to this book. In the following chapter, which presents a number of intermediate methodological reflections, I aim to flesh out this concept and thus the method used in this book. Within the context of contemporary debates in the philosophy and history of human rights...

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5. Soul and Gift: The Human Being as Image and Child of God

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pp. 140-172

The key thesis underlying the three historical-sociological discussions presented in this book is that we should understand the rise of human rights and the idea of universal human dignity as a process of the sacralization of the person. Inherent in this thesis is a rejection of all notions that this rise can be regarded as the product of a...

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6. Value Generalization: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Plurality of Cultures

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pp. 173-194

So far in my attempt to construct an affirmative genealogy of human rights I have placed great emphasis on the importance of subjective certainty, the sense of self-evidence and affective intensity of the kind characteristic of the sacred. I have portrayed the genesis and development of human rights as a history of the relocating of such self-evidence...

Bibliography

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pp. 195-214

Index

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pp. 215-217