Get Human Rights as a Way of Life: On Bergson's Political PDF

By Alexandre Lefebvre

ISBN-10: 0804786453

ISBN-13: 9780804786454

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The paintings of Henri Bergson, the main French thinker of the early 20th century, isn't often explored for its political dimensions. certainly, Bergson is better identified for his writings on time, evolution, and creativity. This e-book concentrates as an alternative on his political philosophy—and in particular on his past due masterpiece, the 2 resources of Morality and Religion—from which Alexandre Lefebvre develops an unique method of human rights.

We are inclined to ponder human rights because the pressing overseas venture of shielding every person far and wide from damage. Bergson exhibits us that human rights may also function a medium of non-public transformation and self-care. For Bergson, the most function of human rights is to begin all humans into love. Forging connections among human rights scholarship and philosophy as self-care, Lefebvre makes use of human rights to channel the total of Bergson's philosophy.

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Extra info for Human Rights as a Way of Life: On Bergson's Political Philosophy (Cultural Memory in the Present)

Sample text

And so are we. Human beings are not the make-believe wolves of political philosophy. They are not lone wolves but true wolves that stick together in care and concern against a potentially or really hostile world (DS 1023/57). As he puts it, “The two opposing ­maxims, Homo homini deus and Homo homini lupus, are easily reconcilable. When we formulate the first, we are thinking of some fellow countryman. The other applies to foreigners” (DS 1219/286). This is a difficult quotation. But I take it that we see other human beings (“foreigners”) as lupus precisely because we ourselves (“fellow countrymen”) are wolves.

What in particular does war reveal? It forces us to see that the moral and legal obligations of society are exclusive. Bergson’s thesis is that the reason why obligation can so easily confine itself to the group in wartime is because this has always been its nature. In peacetime, of course, society can extend the ambit of its duties to the whole of mankind. It can gladly uphold human rights. But not in war. When war strikes—and when what was putatively fair is now foul and what was putatively foul is now fair—the circle of duties retracts to an exclusive membership.

But not in war. When war strikes—and when what was putatively fair is now foul and what was putatively foul is now fair—the circle of duties retracts to an exclusive membership. In short, war shows us that the picture of morality is false. It confirms that moral obligation has definite boundaries and limits. And it proves that it cannot indefinitely expand outward. If we think otherwise, it is because these boundaries are obscure and ignored in the everyday. This is how the picture of morality acquires its air of plausibility.

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Human Rights as a Way of Life: On Bergson's Political Philosophy (Cultural Memory in the Present) by Alexandre Lefebvre


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