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9B - Who or What is a Legal System ... Dehumanization.odt

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Legal Studies
LS 101
Susan Brophy

Who/What is a “Legal Person”? Dehumanization The Aim of Human Rights •human rights stem from shared humanity •respect expressed through rights •rights arise after World War ll genocide •central to genocide: dehumanization ◦denial of basic humanity of another ◦might involve animalization (treat humans like animals), infantalization (reducing someone to an infantal state) •' United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948, after World War ll) *Refer to The Universal Declaration of Human Rights* Article 1: all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards on another in a spirit of brotherhood –Note “reason” and “conscience” as defining features Article 6: everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law –Note: universal right to be recognized as a “legal person” •human rights help battle “the forces of dehumanization” (p. 174) •by limiting scope of “personhood”, much damage can be done ◦denial of universal rights ◦dehumanization, genocide ◦group of people pre-legal existence •What happens when we expand the scope of “personhood” to include nonhumans? The Distortion of Human Rights “Blurring of the Human” •problem of categorization continues ◦biotechnoloy and cybernetics ◦animals as near-human ◦articicial intelligence •“What role does rationality (and in what sense) play in defining the fully “human” (p.175). Distortion of Human Rights •“distortion” suggests a shift away from an acceptable understanding of human rights •gap between 2 concepts allows for distortion: ◦“legal person” and “living human being” •if h
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