From the diverse work and often competing insights of women's humanrights activists, Brooke Ackerly has written a feminist and a universal theory of humanrights that bridges the relativists' concerns about universalizing from particulars and the activists' commitment to justice. Unlike universal theories that rely on shared commitments to divine authority or to an 'enlightened' way of reasoning, Ackerly's theory relies on rigorous methodological attention to difference and disagreement. She sets out humanrights (...) as at once a research ethic, a tool for criticism of injustice and a call to recognize our obligations to promote justice through our actions. This book will be of great interest to political theorists, feminist and gender studies scholars and researchers of social movements. (shrink)
Michael Ignatieff draws on his extensive experience as a writer and commentator on world affairs to present a penetrating account of the successes, failures, and prospects of the humanrights revolution. Since the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of HumanRights in 1948, this revolution has brought the world moral progress and broken the nation-state's monopoly on the conduct of international affairs. But it has also faced challenges. Ignatieff argues that humanrights activists (...) have rightly drawn criticism from Asia, the Islamic world, and within the West itself for being overambitious and unwilling to accept limits. It is now time, he writes, for activists to embrace a more modest agenda and to reestablish the balance between the rights of states and the rights of citizens.Ignatieff begins by examining the politics of humanrights, assessing when it is appropriate to use the fact of humanrights abuse to justify intervention in other countries. He then explores the ideas that underpin humanrights, warning that humanrights must not become an idolatry. In the spirit of Isaiah Berlin, he argues that humanrights can command universal assent only if they are designed to protect and enhance the capacity of individuals to lead the lives they wish. By embracing this approach and recognizing that state sovereignty is the best guarantee against chaos, Ignatieff concludes, Western nations will have a better chance of extending the real progress of the past fifty years. Throughout, Ignatieff balances idealism with a sure sense of practical reality earned from his years of travel in zones of war and political turmoil around the globe.Based on the Tanner Lectures that Ignatieff delivered at Princeton University's Center for Human Values in 2000, the book includes two chapters by Ignatieff, an introduction by Amy Gutmann, comments by four leading scholars--K. Anthony Appiah, David A. Hollinger, Thomas W. Laqueur, and Diane F. Orentlicher--and a response by Ignatieff. (shrink)
Despite being a seemingly straightforward moral concept (that all humans have certain rights by virtue of their humanity), humanrights is a contested concept in theory and practice. Theorists debate (among other things) the meaning of “rights,” the priority of rights, whether collective rights are universal, the foundations of rights, and whether there are universal humanrights at all. These debates are of relatively greater interest to theorists; however, a given meaning (...) of “humanrights” implies a corresponding theory of change and through that can be an important guide to the practice of humanrights activists and their funders. In practice, any organization can describe their work as “rights based.” This article clarifies the practices of humanrights activists and their funders that are consistent with a theory of humanrights as (1) universal, (2) interdependent across groups and categories of people, (3) indivisible across issue areas and claims, and (4) measured by the enjoyment of rights. (shrink)
What grounds humanrights? How do we determine that something is a genuine human right? This chapter offers a new answer: human beings have humanrights to the fundamental conditions for pursuing a good life. The fundamental conditions for pursuing a good life are certain goods, capacities, and options that human beings qua human beings need whatever else they qua individuals might need in order to pursue a characteristically good human life. (...) This chapter explains how this Fundamental Conditions Approach is better than James Griffin’s Agency Approach as well as Martha Nussbaum’s Central Capabilities Approach. It also shows how it can be compatible with the increasingly popular Political Conceptions of humanrights defended by John Rawls, Charles Beitz, and Joseph Raz. (shrink)
Using the accounts of Gewirth and Griffin as examples, the article criticises accounts of humanrights as those are understood in humanrights practices, which regard them as rights all human beings have in virtue of their humanity. Instead it suggests that (with Rawls) humanrights set the limits to the sovereignty of the state, but criticises Rawls conflation of sovereignty with legitimate authority. The resulting conception takes humanrights, like (...) other rights, to be contingent on social conditions, and in particular on the nature of the international system. (shrink)
Humanrights debates neglect social rights. This paper defends one fundamentally important, but largely unacknowledged social human right. The right is both a condition for and a constitutive part of a minimally decent human life. Indeed, protection of this right is necessary to secure many less controversial humanrights. The right in question is the human right against social deprivation. In this context, ‘social deprivation’ refers not to poverty, but to genuine, interpersonal, (...) social deprivation as a persisting lack of minimally adequate opportunities for decent human contact and social inclusion. Such deprivation is endured not only in arenas of institutional segregation by prisoners and patients held in long-term solitary confinement and quarantine, but also by persons who suffer less organised forms of persistent social deprivation. The human right against social deprivation can be fleshed out both as a civil and political right and as a socio-economic right. The defence for it faces objections familiar to humanrights theory such as undue burdensomeness, unclaimability, and infeasibility, as well as some less familiar objections such as illiberality, intolerability, and ideals of the family. All of these objections can be answered. (shrink)
This paper explores the connections between humanrights, human dignity, and power. The idea of human dignity is omnipresent in humanrights discourse, but its meaning and point is not always clear. It is standardly used in two ways, to refer to a normative status of persons that makes their treatment in terms of humanrights a proper response, and a social condition of persons in which their humanrights are (...) fulfilled. This paper pursues three tasks. First, it provides an analysis of the content and an interpretation of the role of the idea of human dignity in current humanrights discourse. The interpretation includes a pluralist view of human interests and dignity that avoids a narrow focus on rational agency. Second, this paper characterizes the two aspects of human dignity in terms of capabilities. Certain general human capabilities are among the facts that ground status-dignity, and the presence of certain more specific capabilities constitutes condition-dignity. Finally, this paper explores how the pursuit of humanrights and human dignity links to distributions and uses of power. Since capabilities are a form of power, and humanrights are in part aimed at respecting and promoting capabilities, humanrights involve empowerment. Exploring the connections between humanrights, capabilities, and empowerment provides resources to defend controversial humanrights such as the right to democratic political participation, and to respond to worries about the feasibility of their fulfillment. This paper also argues that empowerment must be coupled with solidaristic concern in order to respond to unavoidable facts of social dependency and vulnerability. (shrink)
In 2016, the United Nation’s General Assembly adopted a non-binding resolution regarding ‘The Promotion, Protection and Enjoyment of HumanRights on the Internet’. At the heart of this resolution is the UN’s concern that ‘rights that people have offline must also be protected online.’ While the UN thus recognises the importance of the Internet, it does so problematically selectively by focusing on protecting existing offline rights online. I argue instead that Internet access is itself a moral (...)human right that requires that everyone has unmonitored and uncensored access to this global medium, which should be publicly provided free of charge for those unable to afford it. Rather than being a mere luxury, Internet access should be considered a universal entitlement because it is necessary for people to be able to lead minimally decent lives. Accepting this claim transforms our conception of the Internet from a technology to that of a basic right. (shrink)
What should we make of claims by members of other groups to have moralities different from our own? HumanRights in Chinese Thought gives an extended answer to this question in the first study of its kind. It integrates a full account of the development of Chinese rights discourse - reaching back to important, though neglected, origins of that discourse in 17th and 18th century Confucianism - with philosophical consideration of how various communities should respond to contemporary (...) Chinese claims about the uniqueness of their humanrights concepts. The book elaborates a plausible kind of moral pluralism and demonstrates that Chinese ideas of humanrights do indeed have distinctive characteristics, but it nonetheless argues for the importance and promise of cross-cultural moral engagement. (shrink)
Why should all human beings have certain rights simply by virtue of being human? One justification is an appeal to religious authority. However, in increasingly secular societies this approach has its limits. An alternative answer is that humanrights are justified through human dignity. This paper argues that humanrights and human dignity are better separated for three reasons. First, the justification paradox: the concept of human dignity does not solve (...) the justification problem for humanrights but rather aggravates it in secular societies. Second, the Kantian cul-de-sac: if humanrights were based on Kant’s concept of dignity rather than theist grounds, such rights would lose their universal validity. Third, hazard by association: human dignity is nowadays more controversial than the concept of humanrights, especially given unresolved tensions between aspirational dignity and inviolable dignity. In conclusion, proponents of universal humanrights will fare better with alternative frameworks to justify humanrights rather than relying on the concept of dignity. (shrink)
The consequentialist project for humanrights -- Exceptions to libertarian natural rights -- The main principle -- What is well-being? What is equity? -- The two deepest mysteries in moral philosophy -- Security rights -- Epistemological foundations for the priority of autonomy rights -- The millian epistemological argument for autonomy rights -- Property rights, contract rights, and other economic rights -- Democratic rights -- Equity rights -- The most reliable (...) judgment standard for weak paternalism -- Liberty rights and privacy rights -- Clarifications and responses to objections -- Conclusion. (shrink)
The objective of this research is to find the meeting point between the second precept of Pancasila and the global ethics of Kung. The article also discusses the value of the second precept of Pancasila as found in the global ethics. This research is intended to recognise humanrights as the convergence of the second sila of Pancasila, namely, 'a just and civilised humanity' with Hans Kung's global ethics. The method used in this research is a literature study (...) containing relevant theories. The second principle of Pancasila, Kemanusiaan yang Adil dan Beradab, is the basis for understanding the life of humanity, unity and justice in Indonesia and becomes the basis for humans to understand themselves and others. CONTRIBUTION: This research offers significant insights into the value of humanrights as a meeting point between the second sila of Pancasila and Hans Kung's global ethics. The second sila of Pancasila and Hans Kung's global ethics emphasise that everyone has rights. Humanrights do not contradict with the typical Indonesian culture of deliberation and mutual cooperation, because the second principle of Pancasila, namely, a just and civilised humanity, is the basis for ensuring humanrights. The Constitution of Indonesia of 1945, article 27 paragraph 1 also guarantees humanrights. Humanrights do not encourage individualism; instead, they protect individuals and groups. Humanrights are not meant to promote egoism, but they help to maintain solidarity among people and ensure the well-being of society. They are a means to respect human dignity and protect the weak. (shrink)
The ‘Guiding Principles on Business and HumanRights’ (Principles) that provide guidance for the implementation of the United Nations’ ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ framework (Framework) will probably succeed in making humanrights matters more customary in corporate management procedures. They are likely to contribute to higher levels of accountability and awareness within corporations in respect of the negative impact of business activities on humanrights. However, we identify tensions between the idea that the respect (...) of humanrights is a perfect moral duty for corporations and the Principle’s ‘humanrights due diligence’ requirement. We argue that the effectiveness of the ‘humanrights due diligence’ is in many respects dependent upon the moral commitment of corporations. The Principles leave room for an instrumental or strategic implementation of due diligence, which in some cases could result in a depreciation of the fundamental norms they seek to promote. We reveal some limits of pragmatic approaches to coping with business-related humanrights abuses. As these limits become more apparent, not only does the case for further progress in international and extraterritorial humanrights law become more compelling, but so too does the argument for a more forceful discussion on the moral foundations of humanrights duties for corporations. (shrink)
In this essay, I first evaluate the conceptual analysis of humanrights by Wilfried Hinsch and Markus Stepanians. Next I criticize Allen Buchanan’s claim that Rawls did not address basic human interests/capabilities theories of human nature. I argue Buchanan is doubly mistaken when he claims that John Rawls sought to avoid such theories because they are comprehensive doctrines. Then I evaluate David Reidy’s defense of Rawls, while questioning his efforts to show how Rawls’s list of (...) class='Hi'>humanrights could be expanded. Finally, I accept James Nickel’s argument that Rawls has tied humanrights too closely to intervention on their behalf. However, I reject his, and by implication Rawls’s, refusal to accept a two-tiered approach to humanrights. (shrink)
This article addresses the so-called to humanrights. Focusing specifically on the work of Onora O'Neill, the article challenges two important aspects of her version of this objection. First: its narrowness. O'Neill understands the claimability of a right to depend on the identification of its duty-bearers. But there is good reason to think that the claimability of a right depends on more than just that, which makes abstract (and not welfare) rights the most natural target of her (...) objection (section II). After examining whether we might address this reformulated version of O'Neill's objection by appealing to the specificity afforded to humanrights in international, regional and domestic law (in section III), the article challenges a second important feature of that objection by raising doubts about whether claimability is a necessary feature of rights at all (section IV). Finally, the article reflects more generally on the role of abstraction in the theory and practice of humanrights (section V). In sum, by allaying claimability-based concerns about abstract rights, and by illustrating some of the positive functions of abstraction in rights discourse, the article hopes to show that abstract rights are not only theoretically coherent but also useful and important. (shrink)
International business faces a host of difficult moral conflicts. It is tempting to think that these conflicts can be morally resolved if we gained full knowledge of the situations, were rational enough, and were sufficiently objective. This paper explores the view that there are situations in which people in business must confront the possibility that they must compromise some of their important principles or values in order to protect other ones. One particularly interesting case that captures this kind of situation (...) is that of Google and its operations in China. In this paper, I examine the situation Google faces as part of the larger issue of moral compromise and integrity in business. Though I look at Google, this paper is just as much about the underlying or background views Google faces that are at work in business ethics. In the process, I argue the following: First, the framework Google has used to respond to criticisms of its actions does not successfully or obviously address the important ethical issues it faces. Second, an alternative ethical account can be presented that better addresses these ethical and humanrights questions. However, this different framework brings the issue of moral compromise to the fore. This is an approach filled with dangers, particularly since it is widely held that one ought never to compromise one’s moral principles. Nevertheless, I wish to propose that there may be a place for moral compromise in business under certain conditions, which I attempt to specify. (shrink)
With the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of HumanRights, the idea of humanrights came into its own on the world stage. More than anything, the Declaration was a response to the Holocaust, to both its perpetrators and the failure of the rest of the world adequately to come to the aid of its victims. Since that year, however, we have seen many more cases of mass murder. Think of China, Bali, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, the former (...) Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and now Darfur. Of course one could always claim that such horrors would have been even more frequent if not for the Declaration. But I want to argue otherwise. For I believe that humanrights have contributed to making mass murder more, rather than less, likely. To be clear, my concern is specifically with the language of humanrights, not the values it expresses, values which I certainly endorse. The problem with this language is that it is abstract. And the problem with abstraction is that it demotivates, it 'unplugs' us from the 'moral sources,' as Charles Taylor would call them, which empower us to act ethically. After showing why, I then go on to describe how the rise of humanrights has constituted an ironic tragedy of sorts for those philosophers who have attempted to lend it intellectual support. On the whole, they may be divided into two groups. One, led by cosmopolitans such as Martha Nussbaum and Thomas Pogge, tries to interlock rights within systematic theories of justice, thus fixing the priorities between them. The other, led by value pluralists such as Isaiah Berlin, Stuart Hampshire, and Bernard Williams, rejects such theories as infeasible and asserts that the best we can do when rights conflict is to negotiate. Yet both approaches, I argue, are counter-productive. (shrink)
In her paper “Sovereignty and the International Protection of Humanrights”, Cristina Lafont argues that “The obligation of respecting humanrights in the sense of not contributing to their violation seems to be a universal obligation and thus one that binds states just as much as non-state actors.” In this paper, I argue that one can find support for this claim in Thomas Hobbes’ _Leviathan._ This requires a different reading of _Leviathan_ than the one that is (...) typically performed by realist thinkers, such as, for instance, Morgenthau and Mearsheimer, who read Hobbes as someone who has no regard for humanrights. Contrary to the realists, I suggest a reading of _Leviathan_ that shows that there is in fact a normative underpinning of Hobbes’ view of sovereignty, to the extent that Hobbes can be taken to be one of the forerunners of international law. I do this by showing how Hobbes’ reasons for establishing sovereign power, and not his conclusions on how to organize sovereign power, may give support to Lafont’s claim that an obligation to respect humanrights is not confined to the sovereign state, but also to extra-state institutions. (shrink)
Why should all human beings have certain rights simply by virtue of being human? One justification is an appeal to religious authority. However, in increasingly secular societies this approach has its limits. An alternative answer is that humanrights are justified through human dignity. This paper argues that humanrights and human dignity are better separated for three reasons. First, the justification paradox: the concept of human dignity does not solve (...) the justification problem for humanrights but rather aggravates it in secular societies. Second, the Kantian cul-de-sac: if humanrights were based on Kant's concept of dignity rather than theist grounds, such rights would lose their universal validity. Third, hazard by association: human dignity is nowadays more controversial than the concept of humanrights, especially given unresolved tensions between aspirational dignity and inviolable dignity. In conclusion, proponents of universal humanrights will fare better with alternative frameworks to justify humanrights rather than relying on the concept of dignity. (shrink)
This paper argues that widely accepted understanding of the respective responsibilities of business and government in the post war industrialized world can be traced back to a tacit social contract that emerged following the second world war. The effect of this contract was to assign responsibility for generating wealth to business and responsibility for ensuring the equitable sharing of wealth to governments. Without question, this arrangement has resulted in substantial improvements in the quality of life in the industrialized world in (...) the intervening period. I argue that with advance of economic globalization and the growing power and influence of multi national corporations, this division of responsibilities is not longer viable or defensible. What is needed, fifty years after the United Nations Declaration of HumanRights, is a new social contract that shares responsibilities for humanrights and related ethical responsibilities in a manner more in keeping with the vision captured by the post war Declaration. I conclude by suggesting some reasons for thinking that a new social contract may be emerging. (shrink)
The international doctrine of humanrights is one of the most ambitious parts of the settlement of World War II. Since then, the language of humanrights has become the common language of social criticism in global political life. This book is a theoretical examination of the central idea of that language, the idea of a human right. In contrast to more conventional philosophical studies, the author takes a practical approach, looking at the history and (...) political practice of humanrights for guidance in understanding the central idea. The author presents a model of humanrights as matters of international concern, whose violation by governments can justify international protective and restorative action ranging from intervention to assistance. He proposes a schema for justifying humanrights and applies it to several controversial cases-rights against poverty, rights to democracy, and the humanrights of women. Throughout, the book attends to some main reasons why people are sceptical about humanrights, including the fear that humanrights will be used by strong powers to advance their national interests. The book concludes by observing that contemporary humanrights practice is vulnerable to several pathologies and argues the need for international collaboration to avoid them. (shrink)
Humanrights have become an important ideal in current times, yet our age has witnessed more violations of humanrights than any previous less enlightened one. This book explores the historical and theoretical dimensions of this paradox. Divided into two parts, the first section offers an alternative history of natural law, in which natural rights are represented as the eternal human struggle to resist opression and to fight for a society in which people are (...) no longer degraded or despised. At the time of their birth in the 18th Century and again in the popular uprisings of the last decade, humanrights became the dominant critique of law and society. The radical rhetoric of rights and its apparently endless expansive potential has led to its adoption by governments and individuals alike seeking to justify their actions on moral grounds and has undermined its radical edge. Part Two examines the philosophical logic of rights. The classical critiques of Kant, Burke, Hegel and Marx illuminate traditional aproaches to the concept of humanrights. The work of Heidegger, Sartre and psychoanalysis is used to deconstruct the metaphisical essentialism of bothe universalists and cultural relativists. Finally, through a consideration of the ethics of otherness, and with reference to recent humanrights violations, it is argued that the end of humanrights is to judge law and politics from a moral stand point which both transcends the present and is historically relevant. (shrink)
The current legal and political practice of humanrights invokes entitlements to freely chosen work, to decent working conditions, and to form and join labor unions. Despite the importance of these rights, they remain under-explored in the philosophical literature on humanrights. This article offers a systematic and constructive discussion of them. First, it surveys the content and current relevance of the labor rights stated in the most important documents of the human (...) class='Hi'>rights practice. Second, it gives a moral defense of these rights arguing that their support involves an appropriate response to important human interests and to the human dignity of workers. Finally, it explores central normative issues about the relation between labor rights and human dignity. It responds to some objections about the importance of work, explains why labor humanrights may not exhaust the demands of dignity regarding labor and arbitrates a common tension between independence and solidarity within our practical affirmation of human dignity. (shrink)
Personal narratives have become one of the most potent vehicles for advancing humanrights claims across the world. HumanRights and Narrated Lives explores what happens when autobiographical narratives are produced, received, and circulated in the field of humanrights. It asks how personal narratives emerge in local settings how international rights discourse enables and constrains individual and collective subjectivities in narration how personal narratives circulate and take on new meanings in new contexts (...) and how and under what conditions they feed into, affect, and are affected by the reorganization of politics in post-cold war, postcolonial, globalizing humanrights contexts. (shrink)
An illustrative comparison of humanrights in 1948 and the contemporary period, attempting to gauge the impact of globalization on changes in the content of humanrights (e.g., collective rights, women's rights, right to a healthy environment), major abusers and guarantors of humanrights (e.g., state actors, transnational corporations, social movements), and alternative justifications of humanrights (e.g., pragmatic agreement, moral intuitionism, overlapping consensus, cross-cultural dialogue).
Early defenders of the Universal Declaration of HumanRights invoked species hierarchy: human beings are owed rights because of our discontinuity with and superiority to animals. Subsequent defenders avoided species supremacism, appealing instead to conditions of embodied subjectivity and corporeal vulnerability we share with animals. In the past decade, however, supremacism has returned in work of the new ‘dignitarians’ who argue that humanrights are grounded in dignity, and that human dignity requires according (...) humans a higher status than animals. Against the dignitarians, I argue that defending humanrights on the backs of animals is philosophically suspect and politically self-defeating. (shrink)
This volume collects Allen Buchanan's previously published articles with a focus on ethics and international law, specifically with regard to humanrights, the legitimacy of international institutions, and the ethics of force across borders. The work fits together tightly in its systematic interconnections, and collectively it makes the case for a holistic and systematic approach to issues that are at the forefront of current discussions in political and legal philosophy- issues that have traditionally been seen as separate.
This article contextualises current debates over humanrights and transnational corporations. More specifically, we begin by first providing the background to John Ruggie's appointment as 'Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of humanrights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises'. Second, we provide a brief discussion of the rise of transnational corporations, and of their growing importance in terms of global governance. Third, we introduce the notion of humanrights, and note (...) some difficulties associated therewith. Fourth, we refer to Ruggie's scholarly work on 'embedded liberalism', the 'global public domain' and 'social constructivism'. Following this, we refer to the other five papers contained in this "Journal of Business Ethics" special issue, 'Spheres of Influence/Spheres of Responsibility: Multinational Corporations and HumanRights', and consider some of the potential obstacles to Ruggie's recent suggestion that a 'new consensus' has formed, or is forming, around his 'Protect, Respect and Remedy' framework. We conclude by raising questions regarding the processes of consensus-building around, and the operationalisation of, Ruggie's 'Protect, Respect and Remedy' framework. (shrink)
HumanRights and Common Good collects John Finnis's wide-ranging work on central issues in political philosophy. The subjects explored include the general theory of political community and justice; the nature and role of humanrights; national territory and migrants' and non-citizens' rights; the justification of punishment; and the public control of euthanasia, abortion, and marriage.
Over the years, companies have adopted hiring algorithms because they promise wider job candidate pools, lower recruitment costs and less human bias. Despite these promises, they also bring perils. Using them can inflict unintentional harms on individual humanrights. These include the five humanrights to work, equality and nondiscrimination, privacy, free expression and free association. Despite the humanrights harms of hiring algorithms, the AI ethics literature has predominantly focused on abstract ethical (...) principles. This is problematic for two reasons. First, AI principles have been criticized for being vague and not actionable. Second, the use of vague ethical principles to discuss algorithmic risks does not provide any accountability. This lack of accountability creates an algorithmic accountability gap. Closing this gap is crucial because, without accountability, the use of hiring algorithms can lead to discrimination and unequal access to employment opportunities. This paper makes two contributions to the AI ethics literature. First, it frames the ethical risks of hiring algorithms using international humanrights law as a universal standard for determining algorithmic accountability. Second, it evaluates four types of algorithmic impact assessments in terms of how effectively they address the five humanrights of job applicants implicated in hiring algorithms. It determines which of the assessments can help companies audit their hiring algorithms and close the algorithmic accountability gap. (shrink)
In recent developments in political and legal philosophy, there is a tendency to endorse minimalist lists of humanrights which do not include a right to political participation. Against such tendencies, I shall argue that the right to political participation, understood as distinct from a right to democracy, should have a place even on minimalist lists. In addition, I shall defend the need to extend the right to political participation to include participation not just in national, but also (...) in international and global governance processes. The argument will be based on a cosmopolitan conception of political legitimacy and on a political conception of humanrights that is normatively anchored in legitimacy. The central claim of my paper is that a right to political participation is necessary – but not sufficient – for political legitimacy in the global realm. (shrink)
This paper examines the idea of humanrights, and how they should be justified. It begins by reviewing Peter Jones?s claim that the purpose of humanrights is to allow people from different cultural backgrounds to live together as equals, and suggests that this by itself provides too slender a basis. Instead it proposes that humanrights should be grounded on human needs. Three difficulties with this proposal are considered. The first is the (...) problem of whether needs are sufficiently objective for this purpose, to which it responds by drawing a distinction between human needs proper and societal needs. The second is the problem of overshoot: human needs are more expansive than humanrights. It responds to this by arguing that where needs conflict, we make trade-offs before specifying the optimum set of humanrights. The third is the problem of undershoot: needs cannot be used to ground civil and political rights. Here it suggests that some of these rights can be grounded directly in needs, others can be justified instrumentally, and yet others grounded in the human need for recognition. Finally the paper returns to Jones, and asks which approach to humanrights is better able to justify them within both liberal and non-liberal cultures. (shrink)
"These essays make a splendid book. Ignatieff's lectures are engaging and vigorous; they also combine some rather striking ideas with savvy perceptions about actual domestic and international politics.
This paper offers four arguments against a moral human right to health, two denying that the right exists and two denying that it would be very useful (even if it did exist). One of my sceptical arguments is familiar, while the other is not.The unfamiliar argument is an argument from the nature of health. Given a realistic view of health production, a dilemma arises for the human right to health. Either a state's moral duty to preserve the health (...) of its citizens is not justifiably aligned in relation to the causes of health or it does not correlate with the human right to health. It follows that no one holds a justified moral human right to health against the state.Education and herd immunity against infectious disease both illustrate this dilemma. In the former case, the state's moral duty correlates with the human right to health only if it demands too much from a cause of health; and in the latter, only if it demands nothing from a cause of health (that is, too little). (shrink)
Can we respond to injustices in the world in ways that do more than just address their consequences? In this book, Brooke A. Ackerly argues that what to do about injustice is not just an ethical or moral question, but a political question about assuming responsibility for injustice. Ultimately, Just Responsibility offers a theory of global injustice and political responsibility that can guide action.
Despite the prevalence of humanrights discourse, the very idea or concept of a human right remains obscure. In particular, it is unclear what is supposed to be special or distinctive about humanrights. In this paper, we consider two recent attempts to answer this challenge, James Griffin’s “personhood account” and Charles Beitz’s “practice-based account”, and argue that neither is entirely satisfactory. We then conclude with a suggestion for what a more adequate account might look (...) like – what we call the “structural pluralist account” of humanrights. (shrink)
Humanrights imply duties. The question is, duties for whom? Without a well-defined scheme for assigning duties correlative to humanrights, these rights remain illusory. This paper develops core elements of a general scheme of duty assignment and studies the implications for corporations. A key distinction in such an assignment is between unconditional and conditional duties. Unconditional duties apply to every agent regardless of the conduct of others. Conditional duties reflect a division of moral labour (...) where different tasks are assigned to specific agents, whose default activates back-up duties of other agents. Corporations face unconditional duties to not directly violate the rights of others, and not undermine the division of moral labour through practices such as tax evasion or corruption. Being unconditional, these duties cannot be deviated from by reference to the misconduct of competitors. In addition, corporate conditional duties to protect, promote or fulfil rights can be activated if the state and other designated duty-bearers fail to discharge their duties. (shrink)
Abstract: The criticism that voluntary codes of conduct are ineffective can be met by giving greater centrality to humanrights in such codes. Provided the humanrights obligations of multinational corporations are interpreted as moral obligations specifically tailored to the situation of multinational corporations, this could serve to bring powerful moral force to bear on MNCs and could provide a legitimating basis for NGO monitoring and persuasion. Approached in this way the humanrights obligations (...) of MNCs can be taken to include support for political as well as economic rights. This will go some way towards filling the regulatory gap created by the difficulty of controlling the activities of corporations operating globally. However, such a proposal will require a measure of ‘meta-regulation’ whereby the operations of MNCs are legally required to be sufficiently transparent to create the conditions for effective external moral scrutiny. (shrink)
The orthodox conception of humanrights holds that humanrights are moral rights possessed by all human beings simply in virtue of their humanity. In recent years, advocates of a 'political' conception of humanrights have criticized this view on the grounds that it overlooks the distinctive political function performed by humanrights. This article evaluates the arguments of two such critics, John Rawls and Joseph Raz, who characterize the political (...) function of humanrights as that of potential triggers for intervention by one society against another. (shrink)
The 1948 Universal Declaration of HumanRights recognized that “everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits”. As a result, cultural rights have been understood as inseparable from humanrights and require protection mechanisms within particular international legal systems. The European continent is proud to have developed one of the most effective mechanisms of the human (...)rights protection by establishing the Council of Europe and adopting the European Court of HumanRights. The recent outbreak of the COVID-19 reformulated many concepts of access to humanrights and possibilities to enjoy freedoms. Even if access to culture has been available online for many years, it is the time of globally occurring lockdowns that forced people to stay home and found themselves in a situation when all of a sudden online access to culture became the only way of access to culture. The article aims to analyze the current situation in Europe by asking questions if and how online access to culture is recognized and protected under the Council of Europe’s mechanisms with special emphasis on the case-law of the European Court of HumanRights in this field. (shrink)
In this article, I sketch a Kant-inspired liberal account of humanrights: the freedom-centred view. This account conceptualizes humanrights as entitlements that any political authority—any state in the first instance—must secure to qualify as a guarantor of its subjects' innate right to freedom. On this picture, when a state (or state-like institution) protects humanrights, it reasonably qualifies as a moral agent to be treated with respect. By contrast, when a state (or state-like (...) institution) fails to protect humanrights, it loses its moral status and becomes liable to both internal and external interference. I argue that this account not only steers a middle course between so-called natural-law and political approaches to humanrights but also satisfies three important theoretical desiderata— explanatory power, functional specificity, and critical capacity. (shrink)