Chapter

The Argument by Design

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/9780195679489.003.0019
The Argument by Design

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This chapter examines the argument that human rights are Western in the sense that human rights, as a concept, are designed for the West, meant for the West, indeed, tailor-made for the West. It is not merely that human rights originated in the West, or that they achieved a special expression there; or that they are historically unique to it; or are its defining feature, or can only flourish there; or only acquired a legal status there, or received secular recognition there, or represent the local synergistic manifestation of several constellating factors, or are coterminous with modernity. They may or may not be Western in these senses but are quintessentially Western in a conceptual sense. As a concept or ideology they are meant for the West; just as Christ is meant for Christians as an exemplification of what it fully means to be human, human rights are a symbol for the West of what it means to be human.

Keywords: human rights; secular recognition; modernity; human; concept; ideology; symbol

Chapter.  2675 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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