The Idea of Human Rights: Four Inquiries

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Oxford University Press, 8 ian. 1998 - 176 pagini
Inspired by a 1988 trip to El Salvador, Michael J. Perry's new book is a personal and scholarly exploration of the idea of human rights. Perry is one of our nation's leading authorities on the relation of morality, including religious morality, to politics and law. He seeks, in this book, to disentangle the complex idea of human rights by way of four probing and interrelated essays. * The initial essay, which is animated by Perry's skepticism about the capacity of any secular morality to offer a coherent account of the idea of human rights, suggests that the first part of the idea of human rights--the premise that every human being is "sacred" or "inviolable"--is inescapably religious. * Responding to recent criticism of "rights talk", Perry explicates, in his second essay, the meaning and value of talk about human rights. * In his third essay, Perry asks a fundamental question about human rights: Are they universal? In addressing this question, he disaggregates and criticizes several different varieties of "moral relativism" and then considers the implications of these different relativist positions for claims about human rights. * Perry turns to another fundamental question about human rights in his final essay: Are they absolute? He concludes that even if no human rights, understood as moral rights, are absolute or unconditional, some human rights, understood as international legal rights, are--and indeed, should be--absolute. In the introduction, Perry writes: "Of all the influential--indeed, formative--moral ideas to take center stage in the twentieth century, like democracy and socialism, the idea of human rights (which, again, in one form or another, is an old idea) is, for many, the most difficult. It is the most difficult in the sense that it is, for many, the hardest of the great moral ideas to integrate, the hardest to square, with the reigning intellectual assumptions of the age, especially what Bernard Williams has called 'Nietzsche's thought': 'There is not only no God, but no metaphysical order of any kind....' For those who accept 'Nietzsche's thought', can the idea of human rights possibly be more than a kind of aesthetic preference? In a culture in which it was widely believed that there is no God or metaphysical order of any kind, on what basis, if any, could the idea of human rights long survive?" The Idea of Human Rights: Four Inquiries will appeal to students of many disciplines, including (but not limited to) law, philosophy, religion, and politics.

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Cuprins

Introduction The Idea of Human Rights
3
Is the Idea of Human Rights Ineliminably Religious?
11
Rights Talk What Does It Mean? And Is It Problematic?
43
Are Human Rights Universal? The Relativist Challenge and Related Matters
57
Are Human Rights Absolute? The Incommensurability Thesis and Related Matters
87
Notes
107
Index
159
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Pagina 53 - Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Pagina 88 - Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take steps, individually and through international assistance and co-operation, especially economic and technical, to the maximum of its available resources, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the rights recognized in the present Covenant by all appropriate means, including particularly the adoption of legislative measures.
Pagina 89 - The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary : (a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others ; (b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.
Pagina 53 - The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
Pagina 51 - Realizing that the individual, having duties to other individuals and to the community to which he belongs, is under a responsibility to strive for the promotion and observance of the rights recognized in the present Covenant, Agree upon the following articles: PARTI Article 1 1.
Pagina 20 - Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
Pagina 44 - Article 4 No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

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