Self-Fulfilment and Human Flourishing: A Re-Examination of Human Rights Theories and Their Application to the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

Project: Research

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The proposed research will use an interpretive philosophical analysis of human rights theory, literature and legal instruments to argue that the concept of human fulfillment should displace (take primacy over) human dignity from the foundational role that it plays in human rights discourse and legislation relating to economic, social and cultural rights. This project is important because the concept of dignity appears inadequate to secure the rights to ‘human flourishing’ and individual development (through, for example, cultural activities, sports and leisure) that international legal instruments such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) require states to protect and advance.In addition to exploring the significance of ‘self-fulfilment’ to human rights theory, the research will consider its utility in international human rights law. This aspect of the research will examine questions such as, which state obligations should ensue on the basis of the concept of self-fulfilment, and how should they be institutionalised? Findings from this part of the research will engage with claims that self-fulfilment as a normative concept plays an exceptionally prominent role when it comes to the rights of persons with disabilities and consider how the concept should inform the articulation of concrete rights and obligations enshrined in the CRPD.Through a distinctive mix of a theoretical examination of the foundations of international human rights law, systematic literature reviews and interdisciplinary analysis of legal and disability studies, the proposed project will generate knowledge about whether the concept of self-fulfilment:• offers an adequate moral basis for protecting the rights relating to individual development and human flourishing• can be institutionalised in human rights law through international conventions, domestic legislation and the interpretive practices of courts, tribunals and international treaty monitoring bodies• effectively protects persons with disabilities whose rights to human flourishing and personal development are particularly vulnerable to being compromised by the inadequacies of human rights instruments based on the concept of dignity. 


Project number9048174
Grant typeECS
Effective start/end date1/01/20 → …