The Pragmatic Individual Essay

2970 Words Apr 1st, 2013 12 Pages
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 …show more content…
Although the goal was to assume freedoms and equalities for all of mankind, the fact that these rights were derived from one culture alone poses several problems.
Over 75 percent of the people on Earth have never had any close relationships or encounters from those of a Western society. Neither are many of them even aware of the fact that they own these rights. If these freedoms had only originated from the mere 25 percent of all people on Earth, how are they able to justify a universal moral ground to encompass all of humanity? Failing to incorporate the other cultures would go against the pragmatic methods, which aim to take into account all aspects of the human experience.
Another problem that the Declaration poses is the fact that almost all articles in the Declaration are directed toward the individual, claiming that everyone is in possession of these rights. While this may sound like a feasible circumstance to maintain, in Dewey’s perspective, this notion of individualism will not allow many to achieve these rights. The language for used in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights must be carefully considered as it does little to protect these rights. Although the rights stated in the Declaration claim to be entitled to everyone, these rights are only achieved when others have recognized them.
There are several articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that express the need for others to be involved in order for that

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