The Idea of Human Rights

Paperback | August 3, 2011

byCharles R. Beitz

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The international doctrine of human rights is one of the most ambitious parts of the settlement of World War II. Since then, the language of human rights has become the common language of social criticism in global political life. This book is a theoretical examination of the central idea ofthat language, the idea of a human right. In contrast to more conventional philosophical studies, the author takes a practical approach, looking at the history and political practice of human rights for guidance in understanding the central idea. The author presents a model of human rights as matters of international concern, whose violation by governments can justify international protective and restorative action ranging from intervention to assistance. He proposes a schema for justifying human rights and applies it to severalcontroversial cases-rights against poverty, rights to democracy, and the human rights of women. Throughout, the book attends to some main reasons why people are sceptical about human rights, including the fear that human rights will be used by strong powers to advance their national interests. Thebook concludes by observing that contemporary human rights practice is vulnerable to several pathologies and argues the need for international collaboration to avoid them.

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The international doctrine of human rights is one of the most ambitious parts of the settlement of World War II. Since then, the language of human rights has become the common language of social criticism in global political life. This book is a theoretical examination of the central idea ofthat language, the idea of a human right. In ...

Charles Beitz has written books and articles in global political theory (Political Theory and International Relations, rev. ed. Princeton UP 1999) and democratic theory (Political Equality, Princeton UP 1989) and is co-editor, with Robert Goodin, of Global Basic Rights (OUP 2009). He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and is a member of the...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.54 inPublished:August 3, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199604371

ISBN - 13:9780199604371

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Table of Contents

Preface1. Introduction2. The Practice3. Naturalistic Theories4. Agreement Theories5. A Fresh Start6. Normativity7. International Concern8. ConclusionWorks citedIndex

Editorial Reviews

Review from previous edition: "The author is successful in his goal of proposing an alternative perspective on human rights which seeks to reconcile the disjuncture between theory and practice ... This is an innovative, well-argued and well-written text which makes a useful contribution to thepolitical theory of human rights." --Political Studies Review