What Is Special About Human Rights?

Ethics and International Affairs 25 (3):369-83 (2011)
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Abstract
Despite the prevalence of human rights discourse, the very idea or concept of a human right remains obscure. In particular, it is unclear what is supposed to be special or distinctive about human rights. In this paper, we consider two recent attempts to answer this challenge, James Griffin’s “personhood account” and Charles Beitz’s “practice-based account”, and argue that neither is entirely satisfactory. We then conclude with a suggestion for what a more adequate account might look like – what we call the “structural pluralist account” of human rights.
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Archival date: 2011-05-06
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