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Intrinsic and equal human worth in a secular worldview. Fictionalism in human rights discourse

Author(s): Patrick Loobuyck

Journal: Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies
ISSN 1583-0039

Volume: 3;
Issue: 9;
Start page: 58;
Date: 2004;
Original page

Keywords: Foundations of human rights | Moral fictionalism | Moral philosophy and secularisation | The problem of intrinsic values.

One of the most central ideas of secular, humanistic morality is the thesis of intrinsic and equal human worth. Paradoxically, it is very hard to place this thesis in a secular worldview, because an indifferent universe can not make room for intrinsic values and a priori human rights. Nevertheless, it would not be a good solution to jettison the whole human rights discourse. Therefore, this paper proposes the stance of moral fictionalism: to believe that the discourse entails or embodies a theory that is false, but to carry on employing the discourse, as if this were not the case, because it is useful to do so. As such, the ideas of intrinsic and equal human worth can be the subject of √ędisbelieving acceptance√≠ by the secular moral philosopher.
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