Sometimes a cross isn’t just a cross, as Stanley Fish notes. All parties involved don’t think it’s a good idea to strip the cross from it’s religious meaning in law.
Aside from an interesting comparison on a specific legal question, perhaps there’s an underlying current as well.
The Strasbourg Human Rights project where the link is found seems reasonable: “Strengthening the European Court of Human Rights: More Accountability through Better Legal Reasoning.”
Here’s a quote from The Stanford Encyclopedia Of Philosophy:
“The philosophy of human rights addresses questions about the existence, content, nature, universality, justification, and legal status of human rights. The strong claims made on behalf of human rights (for example, that they are universal, or that they exist independently of legal enactment as justified moral norms) frequently provoke skeptical doubts and countering philosophical defences.”
And further on down the line, some humanists are pretty ‘aspirational’ as well as having a logo and a revised manifesto:
Here are a few questions:
1. How does one address the chasm between the cultures and societies of Western secular morality and other religions? or the larger chasm between Western civilization and the many non-monotheistic tribal societies? Is a raft of broadly based rights in European law also an extension of Western civilization to/upon other groups of people?
What moral obligations (and upon what principles) does the West base to other peoples through its laws? Wouldn’t some of the problems with the U.N. have to do with this kind of thinking?
2. How would secular humanists defend against/deal with the militantly religious? or a militantly agressive theocracy? or a militant nationalism with a standing army? or any other potentially existential threat?
3. Can humanism transcend the ideas that would merely lead to the growth of a secular state (which is part of what Stanley Fish might be objecting to), and the dangers and tragedies and excesses that have come with it this past century?
Any thoughts and comments are welcome…
Related On This Site: From The American Interest Online: Francis Fukuyama On Samuel Huntington
How might Nietzsche figure in the discussion, at least with regard to Camille Paglia. See the comments: Repost-Camille Paglia At Arion: Why Break, Blow, Burn Was Successful
Nussbaum argues profoundly for more equality: From The Reason Archives: ‘Discussing Disgust’ Julian Sanchez Interviews Martha Nussbaum