Human Rights

Allen Buchanan

in The Oxford Handbook of Political Philosophy

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780195376692
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Human Rights

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This article assesses recent attempts by philosophers to shed light on the justification of international legal human rights and, in the light of this assessment, to indicate the direction that fruitful theorizing should take. Among the main findings are: philosophical discourse that uses the phrase human rights to refer both to moral human rights and international legal human rights promotes confusion; philosophers tend to assume, rather than argue, for the Grounding View, the thesis that to justify international legal human rights it is necessary to show that they are grounded, at least in significant part, in moral human rights; and the assumption that legal human rights are best seen as attempts to help realize moral human rights fits well with the justificatory language of the core human rights documents and with the actual history of the development of international legal human rights through treaties following the ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Keywords: political theory; political philosophy; international legal human rights; moral human rights

Article.  9264 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Social and Political Philosophy

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