Unlike the traditional or orthodox approach, which conceives human rights as rights that individuals have by virtue of their humanity, and the political or practical approach, which understands human rights as legal rights that are meant to limit the sovereignty of the state, the moral-legal approach reconciles law and morality in human rights discourse and underlines the importance of a legal framework that compensates for the deficiencies in the implementation of moral human rights. It not only challenges the exclusively negative approach to fundamental liberties but also emphasizes the necessity of an enforcement mechanism that helps those who are not morally motivated to refrain from violating the rights of others. Without the legal mechanism of enforcement, the understanding of human rights would be reduced to simply framing moral claims against injustices.
From the moral-legal approach, the protection of human rights is understood as a common and shared responsibility. Such a responsibility goes beyond the boundaries of nation-states and requires the establishment of a cosmopolitan human rights regime based on the conviction that all human beings are members of a community of fate and that they share common values which transcend the limits of their individual states. In a cosmopolitan human rights regime, people are protected as persons and not as citizens of a particular state.
Human rights and the courts and tribunals that protect them are increasingly part of our moral, legal, and political circumstances. The growing salience of human rights has recently brought the question of their philosophical foundation to the foreground. Theorists of human rights often assume that their ideal can be traced to the philosophy of Immanuel Kant and his view of humans as ends in themselves. Yet, few have attempted to explore exactly how human rights should be understood in a Kantian framework. The scholars in this book have gathered to fill this gap. At the center of Kant’s theory of rights is a view of freedom as independence from domination. The chapters explore the significance of this theory for the nature of human rights, their justification, and the legitimacy of international human rights courts.
Tracing the history of the concept, the book shows that there are fundamental tensions between legal, philosophical and social-scientific approaches to human rights. This analysis throws light on some of the most controversial issues in the field: Is the idea of the universality of human rights consistent with respect for cultural difference? Are there collective human rights? What are the underlying causes of human-rights violations? And why do some countries have much worse human-rights records than others?
The third edition has been substantially revised and updated to take account of recent developments, including the ‘Arab Spring’, the civil war in Syria, the refugee crisis, ISIS and international terrorism, and climate change politics. Widely admired and assigned for its clarity and comprehensiveness, this book remains a ‘go-to’ text for students in the social sciences, as well as students of human-rights law who want an introduction to the non-legal aspects of their subject.
In morality as in politics, theorists have generally focused first on discovering universal values and second on their implementation. Ingram argues that only by prioritizing the development and articulation of universal values through political action in the fight for freedom and equality can theorists do justice to these efforts and cosmopolitanism's universal vocation. Only by proceeding from the local to the global, from the bottom up rather than from the top down, on the basis of political practice rather than moral ideals, can we salvage moral and political universalism. Ingram provides the clearest, most systematic account yet of this schematic reversal and its radical possibilities.
Starting from the concept of justification as a basic social practice, Forst develops a theory of political and social justice, human rights and democracy, as well as of power and of critique itself. In so doing, he engages in a critique of a number of contemporary approaches in political philosophy and critical theory. Finally, he also addresses the question of the utopian horizon of social criticism.
Forst begins by identifying this right from the perspective of moral philosophy. Then, through an innovative, detailed critical analysis, he ties together the central components of social and political justice—freedom, democracy, equality, and toleration—and joins them to the right to justification. The resulting theory treats "justificatory power" as the central question of justice, and by adopting this approach, Forst argues, we can discursively work out, or "construct," principles of justice, especially with respect to transnational justice and human rights issues.
As he builds his theory, Forst engages with the work of Anglo-American philosophers such as John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin, and Amartya Sen, and critical theorists such as Jürgen Habermas, Nancy Fraser, and Axel Honneth. Straddling multiple subjects, from politics and law to social protest and philosophical conceptions of practical reason, Forst brilliantly gathers contesting claims around a single, elastic theory of justice.
This book moves beyond this traditional approach in order to investigate and critically assess how such answers reflect the particular epistemological frameworks within which they are produced. Its chapters explore the varied contexts within which the obscure entity labelled al-Qaeda is constituted as a comprehensible object of political, strategic, cultural, and scientific knowledge, and within which 'terrorism' is rendered an experience of quotidian life.
This volume offers a much-needed critical reflection on Western ways of talking and of thinking about the frightening experience of global terrorism. In trying to know how we know al-Qaeda, it offers us an opportunity to try to know ourselves and our often hidden assumptions about legitimacy, violence, and political purpose.
This book examines Arendt's ideas about thinking, acting and political responsibility, investigating the relationship between the life of the mind and the life of action that preoccupied Arendt throughout her life. By joining in the conversation between Arendt and Gaus, each contributor probes her ideas about thinking and judging and their relation to responsibility, power and violence. An insightful and intelligent treatment of the work of Hannah Arendt, this volume will appeal to a wide number of fields beyond political theory and philosophy, including law, literary studies, social anthropology and cultural history.