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TitleThe Sacredness of the Person: A New Genealogy of Human Rights
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Total Pages207
Table of Contents
                            Cover Page
Title Page
Copyright Page
Chapter 1 The Charisma of Reason: The Genesis of Human Rights
Chapter 2 Punishment and Respect: The Sacralization of the Person and the Forces Threatening It
Chapter 3 Violence and Human Dignity: How Experiences Become Rights
Chapter 4 Neither Kant Nor Nietzsche: What Is Affirmative Genealogy?
Chapter 5 Soul and Gift: The Human Being as Image and Child of God
Chapter 6 Value Generalization: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Plurality of Cultures
Document Text Contents
Page 103

chosen or the outcome of a decision. As I tried to show in my book The Genesis
of Values, such ideals are typified by a sense of subjective self-evidence and
affective intensity. It is experiences rather than justifications that are constitutive
of intensive value commitments. Troeltsch too refers to the “sense of proof”
(373) or “subjective absoluteness.”13 We do not seize our values, we are seized
by them, or—as Troeltsch puts it—in such a case this seizing is an “act of
generation that recognizes itself as obedience” (374). Such ideal formation is
therefore accompanied by the awareness, not of having posited something in an
arbitrary way, but of having grasped “within this whole an inner course of
development, an inner movement of life on the part of the universe, or the
divine” (361). “Revelation” is the phenomenologically appropriate term for this
experience—the sense of having partaken in a revelation that itself prompts
feelings of obligation, an “obligation inherent in our being, the obligation to
realize intrinsically cogent values” (312). Kant has said all that needs to be said
about this sense of obligation. Yet this experience does not simply appear in
association with an eternally valid morality or a single “value,” but with respect
to the individual totality of an overall cultural formation.


Mention of the individual whole of a historical phenomenon brings us to the
second stage. For Troeltsch, the fact of ideal formation, the systematic
foundation of his argument, constitutes the specific individuality of historical
phenomena. Individuality in this sense is not, of course, a merely numerical
phenomenon. A single inanimate object, plant, or animal may also be individual
in the sense of its distinctiveness and noninterchangeability. But the concept of
individuality takes on a far more sophisticated meaning if the individuals
involved have ideals or, better, have the capacity for ideal formation. If this is
the case, we cannot do justice to their individuality if we understand them as
merely factual; that is, without taking account of the immanent relationship
between the facticity of such an individual and his highly individual values. We
cannot understand a human being if we are unfamiliar with his values and judge
him only by his actions, which will never represent the total realization of his
ideals. We are particularly keen not to be judged by others solely in light of our
actions, certain that we ourselves amount to more than these actions. Understood
in this way, the concept of individuality “not only signifies the purely factual
particularity of a specific historical and spiritual complex but also
simultaneously implies the individualization of an ideal, or of what ought to be.
This ideal, moreover, is never exhaustively realized in what is always a

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Sieyès, Emmanuel Joseph, 23
Simmel, Georg, 98, 110, 118, 120, 136, 157
Smith, Philip, 65
Smuts, Jan, 189, 193
Söderblom, Nathan, 67
Sombart, Werner, 132
Spencer, Herbert, 115
Spranger, Eduard, 122
Struve, Peter, 29, 36

Taylor, Charles, 114, 138, 166, 172
Thomas, Günter, 67
Thomas, William Isaac, 81
Tiryakian, Edward, 67
Tocqueville, Alexis de, 12, 14
Tönnies, Ferdinand, 132
Toulmin, Stephen, 175
Troeltsch, Ernst, ix, 7, 24–25, 28, 31, 34, 99–116, 118–22, 124–35, 136–39, 157,

165, 192
Touraine, Alain, 33

Verri, Pietro, 39
Virchow, Rudolf, 145
Vögele, Wolfgang, 71, 170
Voltaire (François Marie Arouet), 39, 59
Vries, Hent de, 159

Waltz, Susan, 182
Walzer, Michael, 169
Weber, Max, ix, 6–7, 20, 27–32, 34, 36, 54, 74, 84, 98, 101–2, 104, 110, 115–

18, 120, 132–33, 136–37, 153, 157, 160, 165–67, 169
Whitehead, Alfred North, 186
Williams, Eric, 89
Williams, Roger, 24, 35
Windelband, Wilhelm, 110, 118

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Wittgenstein, Ludwig, 177
Wundt, Wilhelm, 148–49

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