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Reconciling Positivism And Realism: Kelsen And Habermas On Democracy And Human Rights, David Ingram Oct 2013

Reconciling Positivism And Realism: Kelsen And Habermas On Democracy And Human Rights, David Ingram

David Ingram

It is well known that Hans Kelsen and Jürgen Habermas invoke realist arguments drawn from social science in defending an international, democratic human rights regime against Carl Schmitt’s attack on the rule of law. However, despite embracing the realist spirit of Kelsen’s legal positivism, Habermas criticizes Kelsen for neglecting to connect the rule of law with a concept of procedural justice (Part I). I argue, to the contrary (Part II), that Kelsen does connect these terms, albeit in a manner that may be best described as functional, rather than conceptual. Indeed, whereas Habermas tends to emphasize a conceptual ...


Of Sweatshops And Human Subsistence: Habermas On Human Rights, David Ingram Oct 2013

Of Sweatshops And Human Subsistence: Habermas On Human Rights, David Ingram

David Ingram

In this paper I argue that the discourse theoretic account of human rights defended by Jürgen Habermas contains a fruitful tension that is obscured by its dominant tendency to identify rights with legal claims. This weakness in Habermas’s account becomes manifest when we examine how sweatshops diminish the secure enjoyment of subsistence, which Habermas himself (in recognition of the UDHR) recognizes as a human right. Discourse theories of human rights are unique in tying the legitimacy of human rights to democratic deliberation and consensus. So construed, their specific meaning and force is the outcome of historical political struggle. However ...