Week 11 Day 2
The Final Exam
• Imagine that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is being redrafted, and you have
been chosen to assist a commission that is studying ethical justifications both for rights
already recognized in international declarations and for rights that have not yet received
• The right that you must discuss will be announced on December 5.
• Your assignment is to discuss a full range of moral arguments for and against the claim
that this is a social protection that everyone ought to have.
• Which side is supported by the stronger arguments?
• Choose a right to work with. I suggest: the right to an adequate standard of living.
• Identify the arguments that work for it and against its recognition.
• Have a thought about:
• For each argument, is there an objection?
• Can it be defended against that objection?
• Remember: three types of objection:
o That a premise is not plausible
o That the premises do not give strong/valid support for the conclusion
o That the conclusion has unacceptable consequences
• At the end of the day, which side wins?
Which arguments (pro or con) are stronger?
o Utilitarian o Social contract (generic)
o Libertarian o Social contract (Locke)
o Basic rights o Social contract (Rawls) o Locke’s moral law I o Cranston: only CP, not SEC
rights are HR
o Ake: irrelevance
o Locke’s moral law II
o Donnelly vs. right to
Common human development
o Arguments vs. women’s
Not meant to be rights, answered by Bunch
o Kant: Universal law
o Kant: Means/Ends
o Aristotle: natural slavery
o Various anti-slavery:
o Self-defeating (Charlesworth)
o Paine HR = men’s rights
o Relativism against HR
o Douglass o Akan values
o Condorcet o Islamic values
o Asian values vs. HR
o Argument from oppression o Capability approach
o Bentham: HR are “nonsense
o Religious book
o From God to prophet Muhammad
o Saudi Arabia
o Where the prophet was born and received the first verses • Medinah
o Followers forced out of mecca, this is where they went
o Less radical
o What Mohammad did according to hadith
o Islamic law further interpretation from scholars
o Worldwide community of Muslims
• Talks more about equality
o Charity encouraged
Core Practices of Islam
• Five Pillars
o Testimony of faith
o Prayer (5 times daily)
o Almsgiving – traditionally
10-20% of farm produce
2.5% of savings for the rich
o Fasting during Ramadan
o Pilgrimage to mecca
o 6 pillar – jihad
More about Islamic Faith
• Why has Islam been adopted by so many people outside its Arab origins?
• An egalitarian, non-discriminatory message • Reformist morality, opposing excess
• If Islam is egalitarian, why does it disadvantage women in marriage, inheritance, legal
• What is now discriminatory was a reform 1500 years ago, compared to how things were
Basing Human Rights on Muslim Values
• Universal Islamic Declaration Of Human Rights (1981)
• Created by experts in Islamic law
• Sponsored by Islamic council of Europe
• Not a treaty or declaration of states
• What values are foundational?
• What kinds of HR are supported?
• Inconsistencies? Incompleteness?
(Recall I & I are common in all traditions. It’s not Eurocentric to look for them!)
o Rights to develop, free of fear, oppression, exploitation, deprivation
o Eliminate oppression and injustice
o Confer dignity and honor
• Rights listed:
o o Right to life o Right of privacy