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Title: Human Rights: A Modest Proposal
Authors: Byron, Michael
Keywords: Human rightsJustificationPragmatismConsequentialismTranscendentalism
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Michael Byron, "Human Rights: A Modest Proposal", in: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics, XI (2009) 1, pp. 470-494.
Series/Report no.: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics
XI (2009) 1
Human rights have become an enormously useful tool in our time, and this
for a variety of reasons. Useful, yes: but are rights real? I propose first to
examine the most significant philosophical attempts to justify human rights.
A universally justified conception of rights I call ‘robust,’ since a successful
rational justification would fully underwrite the real existence of rights. Alas,
we have no such justification; the second part of my remarks sketches
devastating objections to each proposed justification. But all is not lost for
rights: a new pragmatic justification for rights talk is available, one that is
modest. On the modest view rights are real; but then we should like to know
whether rights are as useful as they are on the robust view. Not as useful, no;
but a
Type: Article
ISSN: 1825-5167
Appears in Collections:Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2009) XI/1

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