Hannah Arendt's most important contribution to political thought may be her well-known and often-cited notion of the "right to have rights." In this incisive and wide-ranging book, Peg Birmingham explores the theoretical and social foundations of Arendt's philosophy on human rights. Devoting special consideration to questions and issues surrounding Arendt's ideas of common humanity, human responsibility, and natality, Birmingham formulates a more complex view of how these basic concepts support Arendt's theory of human rights. Birmingham considers Arendt's key philosophical works along with her literary writings, especially those on Walter Benjamin and Franz Kafka, to reveal the extent of Arendt's commitment to humanity even as violence, horror, and pessimism overtook Europe during World War II and its aftermath. This current and lively book makes a significant contribution to philosophy, political science, and European intellectual history.
Following Quine, Nelson argues that empiricism is a theory of evidence and is distinct from empiricist accounts of science that have been built on it. She urges feminists and empiricists to work together to develop a feminist empiricism, a view of science that can account for its obvious success in explaining and predicting experience and can encompass feminist insights into relationships among gender, politics, and science.
Basing her arguments on Quine’s non-foundationalist view that theories are bridges of our own construction, the author insists, as does Quine, that the construction of these bridges is constrained by experience. She determines that individualism is inconsistent with key Quinean positions and that empiricism can survive the demise of individualism. Clearly diverging from Quine, Nelson proposes the view that the evolving network of our theories does and should incorporate political views, including those shaped by, and shaping in turn, our experiences of gender.
It addresses objections to basing abortion law on considerations of moral risk, presents two anti-abortion arguments – the deprivation argument and the substance view – to demonstrate the risk of permitting abortion, and discusses the moral risk of restricting access to abortion when it may unjustifiably harm women. The author also shows how welfare states can address the negative effects of restrictive abortion laws by preventive, mitigative and compensatory measures.
This is a thought-provoking and challenging book that will be of great interest to those considering abortion laws across the fields of medical ethics, bioethics, moral philosophy, law and politics.