This year’s course intends to present and discuss critical perspectives on human rights. The course themes will follow a distinction between justifiable and unjustifiable critiques of human rights - the fully condemning critiques and the “constructive” critiques. The constructive-critical approaches are manifest in the diagnosis of the misuse of human rights - the merely rhetorical commitment to them and their selective recognition and enforcement that contradicts the very idea of human rights as comprehensive and indivisible. Furthermore, an attempt will be made to determine the boundaries and limits of human rights. This means to raise the question concerning the concept and content of human rights in regard to morality, politics, and law. This way, human rights are determined as (and restricted to) a limited concept that needs to be contextualized within a broader approach. For instance, human rights primarily protect individuals, they do not eo ipso include the claims of communities or comprehensive theories of the good. A reflective and robust understanding of the limits of human rights conceptions uncovers the manifold preconditions of human rights regimes. Thereby, it enables the rejection of overstated expectations and supports the fulfillment of the core and “actual” functions of human rights.
As always, we are interested in an interdisciplinary dialogue among philosophers, legal scholars, political scientists, and human rights activists from the region.