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Philosophy 2810F/G
Jennifer Epp

READINGS WEEK ONE – LECTURE 2 THE GENERAL IDEA OF HUMAN RIGHTS – NICKLES  UDHR (1948)security rights, due process rights, liberty rights, political rights, equality rights, social and welfare rights  Human rights are political norms dealing mainly with how people should be treated by their governments and institutions – they are not ordinary moral norms applying mainly to interpersonal conduct  Exist as moral and or legal rights  Are numerous rather than few  Are not transhistorical  Are minimal or at least modest standards – concerned with avoiding the terrible than with achieving the best  International norms covering all countries and all people – universal  High priority norms – paramount importance, this doesn’t mean they’re absolute however  Require robust justifications that apply everywhere and support their high priority  Are rights but not necessarily in a strict sense  Usually mandatory  Effective system of criminal law and of legal property rights  Are inalienable  HR are helpful in identifying the limits of justifiable toleration  Fulfillment of human rights is a very vague idea  Restricting human rights to only a few fundamental rights  Countries engaging in massive violations of the most important human rights are not tol be tolerated THE EXISTENCE OF HR  It is possible for a right to exist within more than one normative system at a time  Human rights have roots that are deeper than legal enactment  Human rights are somehow innate or inherent in human beings  Attributing human rights to God\s commands may give them a secure status  Legal enactment at the national and international levels provides a far more secure status for practical purposes  Exist independently by being part of actual human moralities  Human rights declarations and treaties are intended to change existing norms, not just describe the existing moral consensus  Human rights are mainly about the obligations of governments  Rational agreement is available to humans if they will commit themselves to open minded and serious moral and political inquiry WHICH RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS  Deciding which norms should be counted as human rights is matter of some difficulty  Human right
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