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The Pragmatic Individual

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By desperatebd91
Words 2965
Pages 12
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is an international document created by the United Nations, which states the basic rights and fundamental freedoms to which all humans are entitled. Adopted by the United Nations in December of 1948, it serves as the identification of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family. It claims to be universal – to be enjoyed by all people, no matter who they are or where they live. However, in the eyes of a pragmatist, it is impossible for many of these rights to be satisfied simply by the general idea of the human being as a rights-bearer. In this paper, I will attempt to examine and critique the principles behind the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from a pragmatist’s perspective, but more specifically, from John Dewey’s philosophy.

I. The Problem
To address the issues concerning the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I must first identify its goals. In the Preamble, it states:
“Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.”
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that all human beings have economic, social, and cultural rights. From the Preamble, notice the crucial terms “common standard of achievement”, “shall strive by teaching and education” and “by progressive measures, national and international.”...

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