Justifying Feasibility Constraints on Human Rights

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (2):143-157 (2012)
Abstract
It is a crucial question whether practicalities should have an impact in developing an applicable theory of human rights—and if, how (far) such constraints can be justified. In the course of the non-ideal turn of today’s political philosophy, any entitlements (and social entitlements in particular) stand under the proviso of practical feasibility. It would, after all, be unreasonable to demand something which is, under the given political and economic circumstances, unachievable. Thus, many theorist—particularly those belonging to the liberal camp—begin to question the very idea of social human rights on grounds of practical infeasibility. This new minimalism about human rights motivates an immanent critique arguing that even if we were to proceed from a liberal framework, we would still wind up with a justification of the full list of social human rights. In the first part of this article, I will present the central positions of the debate presented by Amartya Sen, Maurice Cranston and Pablo Gilabert. Initially arguing that a minimalism of human rights on grounds of practical infeasibility alone proves unjustifiable, however, I shall open up two further perspectives, which allow practical infeasibilities to become normatively determinate. Discussing contributions by James Griffin and Charles Beitz, I will defend the thesis that certain feasibility constraints on (social) human rights can be justified on the condition that they are grounded either in a normative idea of the appropriate implementation of these rights or in reflection of the practical function of a theory of human rights
Keywords Human rights  Social human rights  Feasibility  Beitz  Non-ideal theory
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 10,928
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Joel Feinberg (1973). Social Philosophy. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.,Prentice-Hall.

View all 12 references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
David Miller (2012). Grounding Human Rights. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 15 (4):407-427.
Jo�O. Cardoso Rosas (2008). Human Rights. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 11:93-100.
Amartya Sen (2012). The Global Reach of Human Rights. Journal of Applied Philosophy 29 (2):91-100.
Alasdair Cochrane (2012). From Human Rights to Sentient Rights. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 16 (5):655-675.
Charles Jones (2013). The Human Right to Subsistence. Journal of Applied Philosophy 30 (1):57-72.
Doris Schroeder (2012). Human Rights and Human Dignity. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (3):323-335.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2011-04-06

Total downloads

54 ( #29,001 of 1,100,500 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #289,155 of 1,100,500 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.