The Rights Conundrum: The Poverty of Philosophy Amidst Poverty
RIGHTS IN CONTEXT: LAW AND JUSTICE IN LATE MODERN SOCIETY, Reza Banakar, ed., Ashgate, Forthcoming
16 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2010 Last revised: 3 Mar 2015
Date Written: January 19, 2010
The Rights discourse has exhausted itself. Yet the discourse continues to haunt like a disembodied ghost. The discourse has worked itself out through a number of familiar dualisms: moral rights versus legal rights, economic rights versus human rights, institutionalized rights versus right claims in praxis, rights under capitalism and socialism, Eurocentric rights concepts versus non-Eurocentric rights, the Asian values discourse or indigenous discourses for example, but whatever the starting point for the discourse or the preferred theoretical framework, attempts to ground it in the materiality of contemporary world order entangles the discourse in conundrum of one type or the other. Yet, if not grounded in the materiality of contemporary world, the Rights discourse loses its meaning as the very idea of Rights is tied inextricably with its sociality. Dr D’Souza argues that we face an acute poverty of philosophy amidst widespread poverty. The connection between the two types of poverty is explored by interrogating the relationship between displacement and rights. She argues that if we look further afield away from European philosophical traditions we might be able to come to grips with the poverty of philosophy amidst poverty. Her paper examines the concept of 'dukkha' in South Asian philosophical tradition as a possible way out of the Rights conundrum.
Keywords: Rights, human rights, economic rights, displacement, dukkha, karma, dispossession, Marxism, emancipation, freedom
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