Civil and Political Justice

Simon Caney

in Justice Beyond Borders

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780198293507
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602337 | DOI:
 Civil and Political Justice

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Having argued, in Ch. 2, that there are universal moral values, the next logical step is to ask what these universal moral values are; this question is pursued in Chs 3 and 4, which consider arguments for two different types of universal value and link together to provide an analysis of what universal principles of justice should apply at the global level. This chapter examines claims that there are universal principles of civil and political justice, that is, those principles that specify what rights people have to what freedoms, and argues for universal human rights to certain civil and political liberties. It is arranged in 13 sections: Section I presents an analysis of human rights, since this term plays a central and important role in a plausible account of civil and political justice; Section II puts forward a general thesis about justifications for civil and political human rights; this is followed, in Sections III–VII, by an analysis of four cosmopolitan arguments for human rights that criticizes three of them but defends the fourth; Section VIII considers an alternative non-cosmopolitan approach to defending civil and political human rights, presented by John Rawls in The Law of Peoples (1999b); the next three sections (IX–XI) of the chapter explore misgivings about civil and political human rights, including the objections that such human rights are a species of imperialism and do not accord sufficient respect to cultural practices (IX), produce homogeneity/uniformity (X), and generate egoism/individualism and destroy community (XI); Section XII considers a further objection—the realist charges that foreign policy to protect civil and political human rights is in practice selective and partial and a cloak for the pursuit of the national interest. Section XIII summarizes the overall case made for civil and political justice.

Keywords: arguments for universal human rights; challenges to universal human rights; civil human rights; civil justice; civil liberties; cosmopolitanism; cultural practices; destruction of community; egoism; foreign policy; homogeneity; human rights; imperialism; individualism; moral universalism; national interest; political human rights; political justice; political liberties; realism; uniformity; universal human rights; universal values

Chapter.  21356 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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