Chapter

The Deontological 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/9780195679489.003.0023
The Deontological Argument

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This chapter examines the argument that human rights are Western based on the distinction between rights and duties. This argument claims that ‘rights’ are primarily a Western category and ‘duties’ an Eastern category. Human rights are therefore Western because human rights discourse is based on the category of rights and not on that of duties. This particular critique of human rights has been offered by a wide range of cultures, extending all the way from the Shinto to the Islamic, and including the Confucian and the Hindu. Though not coextensive, rights and duties are correlative in that (someone’s) rights are related to (someone’s) duty. Rights and duties are convertible, comparable, and coextensive.

Keywords: human rights; Western idea; Eastern; Duties; Islam; Confucianism; Hinduism; convertible, comparable, and coextensive rights

Chapter.  1463 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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