Bursier postdoctoral, Academia Română, Filiala Iaşi Postdoctoral Grant Recipient, Romanian Academy, Iaşi Branch
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3 / 2013
On the Basis of the Principle of Basic Human Equality
One of the most important ideas of our times is the conviction that, despite their diversity, all humans have an equal basic moral status (or an equal fundamental worth and dignity), that they are, as Thomas Jefferson famously stated, “created equals” and they should (because they are entitled to) be treated as equals. In this article I defend the suggestion – stated by philosophers like Brian Barry, Ronald Dworkin or Joel Feinberg – that the principle of equal human worth is indemonstrable and has no other basis than itself. I argue, essentially, that all other theories about the basis of equality are false or at least problematic. In the last section I also try to show that, most probably, the truth of the principle of basic human equality cannot be established through any of the usual methods of argumentation and/or justification.
Keywords: basic equality, diversity, equal treatment, human dignity, individual rights, moral worth
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