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The Philosophy of Human Rights

Author(s): Patrick Hayden

ISBN13: 9781557787903

ISBN10: 1557787905


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  • The Philosophy of Human Rights: Readings in Context brings together an extensive collection of classical and contemporary writings on the topic of human rights, providing an exceptionally comprehensive introduction to the subject. It places special emphasis on the historical development of theories of human rights, and includes western and nonwestern views. Sources include authors such as Aristotle, Cicero, Thomas Aquinas, Confucius, Hobbes, Locke, Kant, Marx, Gandhi, Hart, Feinberg, Nussbaum, the Dalai Lama, Derrida, Lyotard and Rorty. It also deals with contemporary issues of human rights, including genocide and ethnic cleansing, minority cultures, gay and lesbian rights, and rights to the environment.

    It is ideal for courses in human rights, social theory, ethical theory, and political science. It is organized to make selections accessible and engaging. Each reading begins with a brief introduction and is followed with study questions and suggested further readings.

  • Patrick Hayden

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    This thick compendium includes the greats of Western thoughtPlato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Marx, and Millas well as Mary Wollstonecraft on womens rights, Grotius on war, and a slim 64 pages on "non-Western" thought. Unfortunately, Hayden, a South African who directs peace and justice studies at New England College, has skewed his entries. In describing the Islamic tradition, Abdullahi Ahmed An-Naim leaves the door open for its reform to include such things as womens rights, but there is no sign of liberal Islamic writers like M.M. Sharif. With few exceptions, the contemporary philosophers (who fill nearly half the book) belong to the Anglo-American analytic tradition. Jacques Derrida appears alone among French philosophers. Martha Nussbaum and others write about feminism, but the philosophical underpinnings of the powerful French feminist movement are missing. Charles Taylor contributes a short essay about international perspectives, but his writings about group rights are missing. The whole UN Declaration on Human Rights is included, as are several international conventions, but the declarations economic rights are given scant attention. The book will meet the expectations of many philosophy teachers, but librarians looking for a book they can recommend as an overview on human rights should regard it with caution.

    - Leslie Armour, Univ. of Ottawa Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

    This collection of essays presents classical, modern, western, and non-western perspectives on questions of human rights. Issues of universalism and relativism, minority cultures and group rights, ethnic cleansing and humanitarian intervention, womens rights, homosexual rights, and the environment are all discussed. Supporting documents are also included. While focusing on contemporary issues, the book also provides the basis for a grasp of the theoretical concepts and an appreciation of various perspectives. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR


    An excellent collection of readings combining traditional Western perspectives on human rights with feminist, multicultural and environmental perspectives. There is no other anthology out there like it.

    -James P. Sterba, University of Notre Dame

    This is the most extensive, and far reaching, reader available covering theoretical issues connected with human rights. In Part One, Hayden offers substantial excerpts from the Western tradition of political theory from Plato and Aristotle through Marx and Mill; major contemporary philosophical works by authors ranging from Hart, Cranston, and Feinberg to Nussbaum, Rorty, and Derrida; and a good selection of non-Western sources. That alone would make a fine book.

    But Part Two provides another three hundred pages of thoughtful theoretical discussions of contemporary issues including relativism, group rights, humanitarian intervention, womens rights, gays and lesbians, and the environment. Each part also has a good selection of basic documents. And the suggested readings provide genuinely helpful direction. The Philosophy of Human Rights is in every way an excellent effort and a lot of book for the money."

    - Jack Donnelly, Andrew W. Mellon Professor Graduate School of International Studies, University of Denver


The Philosophy of Human Rights

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