Disentangling the Enlightenment’s paradox about human rights, national states and global migration: towards an eco-ethical alternative


  • Guido J.M. Verstraeten Satakunta University of Applied Sciences Tiedepuisto 3, FI 28000 Pori, Suomi-Finland Karel de Grote Hogeschool Nationalestraat 5, B-2000 Antwerp, Flanders guido.verstraeten@kdg.be http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5549-893X
  • Willem W Verstraeten Royal Meteorological Institute, KMI Ringlaan 3, B-1180, Ukkel-Brussels willem.verstraeten@meteo.be http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7222-5212


Migration, human rights, landethics, eco-anarchism


Global migration causes a clash of the traditional way of ethical thinking which originated from the Enlightenment. The rationale behind this thinking is based on the Newtonian worldview of an absolute space and time observable by an external unaffected observer. Enlightenment is focused around the unique but non-universal conception of human rights, human integrity and human autonomy. All the achievements of the Enlightenment begin with the idea of individual emancipation (i), a one dimensional concept of progress (ii), and a Cosmo-political concept of our planet (iii). However, they end in a deep feeling of fear for the spatial extend (oikophobia) of the enlightened subject. Generally spoken all those values are so called liberal values while the articulation of the communitarian values are rather weak. Ethical considerations without the community cannot exist, contesting the actual coherence of the globalized communities since the ethical conception of wellness, goodness and welfare are not necessarily converging. Therefore, in the light of global emigration there is need for a worldwide general ethical care. But also the humans of the place of arrival need ethical care, because host and guest both are subject of moral considerations. Is there a chance for a general ethical consideration in a globalized world where any country or state any city or village is a multicultural community? This requires the development of a metaphysical foundation of migration ethics based on constancy of place and making room for all aspects of diversity. We start from the ecological worldview of homelands inspired by Leopold’s Land-ethics characterized by integrity and autonomy. The conception of emancipation, progress and autonomy of the Enlightenment has to be liberated from the concept of nation state and should be framed in a multicultural context. Its rationale does not longer start from thinking subjects completely isolated from observed objects but from participating beings of a particular space and time. Both are based on the Leibnizian concepts of space and time and finally all this results into feelings of oikophilia, i.e. no fear for the spatial extend anymore.

Author Biography

Willem W Verstraeten, Royal Meteorological Institute, KMI Ringlaan 3, B-1180, Ukkel-Brussels willem.verstraeten@meteo.be



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How to Cite

Verstraeten, G. J., & Verstraeten, W. W. (2017). Disentangling the Enlightenment’s paradox about human rights, national states and global migration: towards an eco-ethical alternative. Asian Journal of Humanities and Social Studies, 4(6). Retrieved from https://www.ajouronline.com/index.php/AJHSS/article/view/4248