Human Rights: Setting the Global Minimum
This chapter examines the global minimum that people everywhere can claim as a matter of justice, and proposes that this should be understood as respect and protection for their basic human rights. When basic rights are threatened or violated, this triggers a responsibility on the part of outsiders to come to the aid of those whose rights are imperilled. The problem is to find a way of specifying the rights in question. There are two main desiderata. On the one hand, the grounding we give for basic human rights must explain their moral urgency, in particular why rights-violations can impose relatively demanding obligations on third parties who are not themselves responsible for the violations. On the other hand, the justification we present should have universal reach — it should appeal to reasons that everyone has reason to accept, regardless of their personal religious commitments or cultural values. It is argued that human rights can meet these desiderata, but only if the list of rights is kept fairly short and basic. More ambitious lists run the risk both of losing their moral urgency and of becoming unjustifiable except on partisan grounds.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.