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Human Rights and Humanität: An Exploration of Religious Hermeneutics and Cross-Cultural Discourse

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Abstract:

Cross-cultural discourse is necessary if the next step in the articulation and extension of the human rights ideal is to be taken. Confronted with the need for a theory of cross-cultural discourse, contemporary thinkers must consider a variety of methodologies and processes. This paper draws on the work of several theorists to propose that a shift in our conception of human rights, to one that uses a more hermeneutical paradigm, is most useful at the current moment. But a hermeneutical approach to human rights discourse must have some sort of normative grounding; there must be an ontological framework which brings some moral significance to the process of cognitive and linguistic construction and investigation. The second half of this paper takes this criticism to heart, and considers what
implications it has for the worldview which a properly conceived comparative political philosophy seems to mandate. My response is to consider in some depth one possible model of religious hermeneutics which situates the cognitive and linguistic work of discourse within just such an ontological framework: Johann Gottfried Herder's philosophy of language as a communal, revelatory field. The potential moral achievement of engaging with one another in that field Herder called "Humanität," and in the conclusion of my paper, its relationship to human rights doctrine, and methodological contributions to it, are considered.

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human (177), right (124), herder (119), cultur (96), one (63), univers (54), polit (51), philosophi (46), languag (43), world (39), cross (39), moral (38), compar (37), see (36), communiti (33), press (32), theori (31), hermeneut (31), make (30), idea (27), would (27),

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Keywords: human rights, comparative political theory, cross-cultural discourse, dialogue, hermeneutics, Humanität, Johann Gottfried Herder, religion, pluralism, communitarianism
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Name: American Political Science Association
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Fox, Russell. "&#65279;Human Rights and Humanität: An Exploration of Religious Hermeneutics and Cross-Cultural Discourse" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Sheraton Boston & Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts, Aug 28, 2002 <Not Available>. 2009-05-26 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p66427_index.html>

APA Citation:

Fox, R. A. , 2002-08-28 "&#65279;Human Rights and Humanität: An Exploration of Religious Hermeneutics and Cross-Cultural Discourse" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Sheraton Boston & Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts Online <.PDF>. 2009-05-26 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p66427_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: &#65279;Cross-cultural discourse is necessary if the next step in the articulation and extension of the human rights ideal is to be taken. Confronted with the need for a theory of cross-cultural discourse, contemporary thinkers must consider a variety of methodologies and processes. This paper draws on the work of several theorists to propose that a shift in our conception of human rights, to one that uses a more hermeneutical paradigm, is most useful at the current moment. But a hermeneutical approach to human rights discourse must have some sort of normative grounding; there must be an ontological framework which brings some moral significance to the process of cognitive and linguistic construction and investigation. &#65279;The second half of this paper takes this criticism to heart, and considers what
implications it has for the worldview which a properly conceived comparative political philosophy seems to mandate. My response is to consider in some depth one possible model of religious hermeneutics which situates the cognitive and linguistic work of discourse within just such an ontological framework: Johann Gottfried Herder's philosophy of language as a communal, revelatory field. The potential moral achievement of engaging with one another in that field Herder called "Humanität," and in the conclusion of my paper, its relationship to human rights doctrine, and methodological contributions to it, are considered.

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Document Type: .pdf
Page count: 39
Word count: 13303
Text sample:
1 1 While several important essays and books examining and making use of comparative political theory have been published over the last few years the first thorough up­to­date introductory text to the subdiscipline was only published earlier this year; see Comparative Political Culture in the Age of Globalization: An Introductory Anthology Hwa Yol Jung ed. (Lanham MD: Lexington Books 2002). Human Rights and Humanität: An Exploration of Religious Hermeneutics and Cross­Cultural Discourse Russell Arben Fox Visiting Assistant Professor Department
teleology at work in the world; through it human beings may understand articulate and constitute themselves as joint participants in an ``immanent community'' which Herder was convinced our very way of being and communicating in this world promises us. To make ever more immanent the principle of human rights requires more than anything else that we willingly subscribe ourselves to the spirit of the age to the space of the encounter between each and every community. Anything less may


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