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Theories of Human Rights.docx

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Robert Inkoom

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th SOCI 2P65 Thursday, September 13 , 2012 Theories of Human Rights Rights: Historical Development  Ancient origins - Thou shall not kill & thou shall respect thy neighbour  Non-western societies - Sharing, care about your neighbours  Western, individualistic society - Innocent until proven guilty  World Politics, the United Nations and Humans rights Theories of rights  Philosophical debates on rights: - Deontological and Consequentialism - Foundationalism and Constructivism  We want our rights respected because they are fundamental, it’s wrong to violate someone’s human rights.  When you fail to observe human rights there are consequences  It’s not up to someone else to take away our rights  International Relations  Universalism and its Critics Realism  Realism concerned with competition among states  Humans, by nature, have drive for power all human institutions  See the international arena as anarchical, no order or central authority  Hence states are compelled to fight for their interests (national security)  Human rights is secondary  States are more invested in national security, human rights isn’t really an important issue. Liberalism  International scene characterised by cooperation and interdependence  Cooperation progress rather than quest for power  Human rights is seen as one area of global cooperation (through conventions)  Technological advances opens avenues for cooperation, example trade Universalist Theories  Divine and Moral Origins - Aquinas’ religious perspective  Natural law reflects God’s principles  Natural laws are ethical/moral; good; just - Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau (social contract):  Natural law and social contract - Kant’s moral necessity :  Human rights not granted by God but through moral imperatives to treat each other as human  Humans/rights as “ends” in themselves, not “mean
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