This chapter retraces the history of moral development to show how it is possible for us to have discovered a meta-theoretical principle of moral improvement, the main principle. The main principle explains why guarantees of the fourteen human rights on the chapter’s list would be moral improvements in any human society. The fourteen rights on the chapter’s list include almost all of the rights in the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but also include a number of rights not in the UNUDHR. So the main principle helps to unify the rights in that document and points to future improvements. The chapter concludes with a reminder that the possibility of future moral improvement depends on there being lots of reasonable disagreement in the ongoing social process of the free give-and-take of opinion.
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