Chapter

The Habitative Argument

Arvind Sharma

in Are Human Rights Western?

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195679489
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081714 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195679489.003.0018
The Habitative Argument

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This chapter examines the argument that human rights are Western in the sense that they could only flourish in Western culture. What sets this view apart from the others is that even if Western rights could have only or did only originate in the West this does not ensure that they would flourish there as well. The claim that they came to flourish uniquely in the West must be carefully distinguished from the claim that they originated in the West. They could be rooted in a Western morality but not all cultures live up to their ideals or even norms, so they could have perished from moral desiccation despite being rooted in the moral dimension of Western culture. Similarly, they could be culturally unique but that uniqueness could be lost. In other words, what is being claimed is that only a Western or Westernized culture can sustain a vision of human rights.

Keywords: human rights; Western idea; Western culture; Western morality; flourish; the West

Chapter.  2986 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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