The rights of future generations : a problem of cosmopolitanism and bioethics

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Gianolla, Cristiano
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Human rights are undermined by the big disparities that occur in their realisations. In this work I affirm that cosmopolitanism is illuminating in its approach to this problem. I start by analyzing some implications of the classic spatial (horizontal) cosmopolitan theory for the human rights regime, in relation to cultural dialogue, international relations and citizenship. Then I make use of some challenges in bioethics to extend the cosmopolitan theory over time, gaining a vertical cosmopolitan dimension. I affirm the wholeness of humanity, and its inherent dignity; in all past, present and future persons. I advocate the establishment of a dialogue in the human rights discourse between cultures and also between generations. I support the creation of the ombudsperson for future generations as the institution for their representation in the intergenerational dialogue. This work deals mainly with five themes: It underlines the fundamental characteristic of human rights as cosmopolitan entities; it speculates on the need for a stronger application of the cosmopolitan theory in the human rights regime; it enlarges the concept of cosmopolitanism from a spatial to a temporal perspective; it faces bioethical issues from a ‘new’ vertical (temporal) cosmopolitan point of view and finally it advocates the rights of future generations, enlarging the concept of cosmopolitanism in fighting bioethical problems.
Second semester University: New University of Lisbon
bioethics, cosmopolitanism, cultural relativism, human rights, intercultural communication, philosophy