Human Rights, Individualism and Cultural Diversity

Abstract Two features of human?rights discourse are often targeted for criticism: its universalism and its individualism. Both features, it is usually claimed, illegitimately overlook the significance of cultural diversity. In this essay I argue that individualism is incompatible with universalism and compatible with cultural diversity. Thus I defend the view that human rights are individualistically justified, and I argue that it follows from this that human rights are in an important sense non?universal. I go on to show how my non?universalist conclusion can provide the basis for a retort to those who appeal to facts about cultural diversity in order to criticise human rights discourse.
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DOI 10.1080/13698230500187151
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Michael Sandel (2003). Liberalism and the Limits of Justice. In Derek Matravers & Jonathan E. Pike (eds.), Journal of Philosophy. Routledge, in Association with the Open University 336-343.

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