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Heiner Bielefeldt
Philosophie der Menschenrechte. Grundlagen eines weltweiten Freiheitsethos

Darmstadt 1998


Darmstadt: Primus,
240 pages
ISBN 3-89678-102-2

Primus Verlag:
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  Finally Heiner Bielefeldts habilitation was published as a book and there are presumably many scholars in Law, Political Theory and Philosophy who might have looked forward to it. The first part of the volume contains an extensive elaboration of the history and concepts of Human Rights. The underlying assumptions - although it is not explicitly mentioned - refer to Kantian Philosophy. The central focus is a normative idea of human dignity, as generally defined in the categorical imperative. The second part of the volume shows a much higher originality than the first. The text aims at an intercultural foundation of Human Rights. Bielefeldt successfully describes Human Rights as an intercultural »overlapping consensus«. In contrast to theories of minimal consensus, the overlapping consensus constitutes the measurement of interculturality itself. Bielefeldt claims that Human Rights are an unreasonable imposition, which every human should adhere to, in order to recognise the other's difference.

Mathias Thaler, Vienna

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