Human Rights: The Hard Questions Front Cover

Human Rights: The Hard Questions


The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. A burgeoning human rights movement followed, yielding many treaties and new international institutions and shaping the constitutions and laws of many states. Yet human rights continue to be contested politically and legally and there is substantial philosophical and theoretical debate over their foundations and implications. In this volume distinguished philosophers, political scientists, international lawyers, environmentalists and anthropologists discuss some of the most difficult questions of human rights theory and practice: What do human rights require of the global economy? Does it make sense to secure them by force? What do they require in jus post bello contexts of transitional justice? Is global climate change a human rights issue? Is there a human right to democracy? Does the human rights movement constitute moral progress? For students of political philosophy, human rights, peace studies, and international relations.

Table of Contents

Part I What are human rights?
Chapter 1 Human rights and human nature
Chapter 2 Universalism and particularism in human rights
Chapter 3 Are human rights universal?

Part II How do human rights relate to group rights and culture?
Chapter 4 The significance of cultural differences for human rights
Chapter 5 Groups and human rights
Chapter 6 Entangled
Chapter 7 What does cultural difference require of human rights?

Part III What do human rights require of the global economy?
Chapter 8 What do human rights require of the global economy?
Chapter 9 Universal human rights in the global political economy
Chapter 10 Human rights and global equal opportunity

Part IV How do human rights relate to environmental policy?
Chapter 11 Human rights in a hostile climate
Chapter 12 A human rights approach to energy, poverty and gender inequality
Chapter 13 Pollution wolves in scientific sheep’s clothing

Part V Is there a human right to democracy?
Chapter 14 Is there a human right to democracy?
Chapter 15 The human right to democracy and its global import
Chapter 16 An egalitarian argument for a human right to democracy

Part VI What are the limits of rights enforcement?
Chapter 17 Is it ever reasonable for one state to invade another for humanitarian reasons?
Chapter 18 Conflicting responsibilities to protect human rights
Chapter 19 Searching for the hard questions about women’s human rights
Chapter 20 Are human rights possible after conflict?

Part VII Are human rights progressive?
Chapter 21 Moral progress and human rights
Chapter 22 Human rights and moral agency
Chapter 23 Gender mainstreaming human rights

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