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Humanite: John Humphry's Alternative

Humanite: John Humphry's Alternative

Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 212
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  • Book Info
    Humanite: John Humphry's Alternative
    Book Description:

    Curle concludes that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, understood in a Bergsonian context, provides us with a way to affirm in the modern context that there is a ground to human fellowship which is transcendent and which offers a basis to establish a universal ethics without a radical homogenization of cultures.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8444-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-10)

    Broadly speaking, this book is an investigation into the phenomena of globalization. If we were to travel back in time to Christmas 1982, our televisions would regale us with Coca-Cola’s Christmas advertising drive. We would enjoy a commercial featuring a group of multi-racial young men and women, holding hands around a Christmas tree strung with brightly coloured electric lights. Their sincerity shone in their uplifted faces as they sang, ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony; I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company. Its the real thing.’

    This, for me, is...

  5. 1 Universality, Particularity, and International Human Rights
    (pp. 11-28)

    In this chapter I want to describe a problem, air a sophisticated and compelling solution to this problem, and then suggest that this sophisticated and compelling solution occludes an even more compelling solution which has been generally neglected. The problem concerns the contemporary human rights project. International human rights purport to be universal; they apply to everyone, everywhere. The problem is that this universality appears to run roughshod over cultural particularities. The assertion of rights as universally normative appears to be an integral part of a trend towards global homogenization in which all political communities must reorganize themselves along western...

  6. 2 John Humphrey and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
    (pp. 29-51)

    This chapter introduces John P. Humphrey, the primary drafter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (hereinafter the Declaration). My ultimate goal regarding Humphrey is to set forth his view of the universality of rights and his use of Henri Bergson’s philosophy of dynamism in this regard and then place them in the context of eastern patristic thought. To do so requires not one chapter but three chapters, since an analysis of not only Humphrey but also Byzantium and Bergson is necessary. Through Humphrey’s publications, journals, and the facts of his life I will elucidate his view of the contemporary...

  7. 3 The Greek Patristic Tradition
    (pp. 52-77)

    In the previous chapters I set forth MacIntyre’s assessment of the modern condition and his recommendation of Thomism as the most hopeful set of resources for a renovation of western rationality. While I agreed in general terms with MacIntyre’s diagnosis in its application to contemporary human rights and also supported his recommendation of a recovery of craft-tradition rationality, I expressed reservations about his prescription of neo-Thomism as the culmination of this version of enquiry. This raised the question of whether earlier forms of Christian thought might, in fact, offer a more promising set of resources for enriching human rights theory...

  8. 4 John Humphrey and Henri Bergson
    (pp. 78-101)

    In this chapter I want to describe Bergson’s philosophy in light of its application to the contemporary human rights project. I am attempting not a definitive account of Bergson’s philosophy, but rather Humphrey’s account of Bergson’s philosophy. In fine, my goal in this chapter is to explore Bergson from the vantage point of the contemporary human rights movement.¹

    Humphrey was introduced to Bergson via Pierre Lecomte du Noüy’sL’Homme et sa destinée/Human Destiny. Lecomte wrote his book expressly for the purpose of re-establishing a fundamental link between science and the life of the spirit. It is an attempt...

  9. 5 Jacques Maritain and the Neo-Thomist Critique of Bergson
    (pp. 102-128)

    ‘It was then that God’s pity caused us to find Henri Bergson.’¹ So wrote Raïsa Maritain, recalling the time when she and her young husband Jacques began attending Bergson’s lectures at the Collège de France. Jacques and Raïsa had met while students at the Sorbonne. Jacques, not unlike Bergson, was a brilliant student in both science and philosophy. While excelling under the tutelage of Durkheim and Lévy-Bruhl, he was dissatisfied by the relativity and scepticism which pervaded the university.² He yearned for truth and, upon meeting a young woman named Raïsa Oumansoff, who had an identical yearning, promptly fell in...

  10. 6 Two Versions of Human Rights
    (pp. 129-149)

    The most astute biographer of Jacques Maritain was his wife, Raïsa. She saw Jacques in this way: ‘Jacques’ vocation shall have been to bring to light the vital forces of Thomism, to carry the light of this great doctrine to all the problems of our times, to widen its frontiers while holding in the strictest fashion to its principles, to reinsert it into the existential reality of the movement of culture and philosophy.’¹ This being Maritain’s vocation, he could scarcely avoid speaking to the political events unfolding before him. One of the most important of these events in his lifetime...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 150-156)

    We come now to the end of this attempt to think through the contemporary human rights project. The main thrust of this dissertation is that John Humphrey’s Bergsonian view of human rights, understood in the context of the Greek Fathers as a species of an enduring philosophical option which has been present in the western tradition at least since Socrates, is a living option for us today. By way of conclusion, I would like to endorse the Humphrey/Bergson vision of human rights as the richest theoretical framework currently available in which to think about human rights.

    Henri Bergson penetrates to...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 157-196)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 197-208)
  14. Index
    (pp. 209-212)