An analysis of the philosophy of universal human rights: Hobbes, Locke, and Ignatieff

Abstract
This project is, in part, motivated by my contention that one cannot adequately answer the question regarding the proper justification for human rights until one has answered the metaphysical question regarding the fundamental nature of human rights and the ontological question regarding the proper status of human rights. I offer a sustained analysis of metaphysical, ontological, and justificatory questions regarding human rights with the purpose of illustrating the point that theories that fail to engage in such analyses are inadequate. In particular, this essay argues that Michael Ignatieff’s theory of human rights, as articulated in Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry, is philosophically inadequate because it fails to connect his justificatory arguments for human rights with metaphysical and ontological conceptions of and arguments for human rights
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