David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Oxford University Press (2005)
"We hold these truths to be self-evident..." So begins the U.S. Declaration of Independence. What follows those words is a ringing endorsement of universal rights, but it is far from self-evident. Why did the authors claim that it was? William Talbott suggests that they were trapped by a presupposition of Enlightenment philosophy: That there was only one way to rationally justify universal truths, by proving them from self-evident premises. With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that the authors of the U.S. Declaration had no infallible source of moral truth. For example, many of the authors of the Declaration of Independence endorsed slavery. The wrongness of slavery was not self-evident; it was a moral discovery. In this book, William Talbott builds on the work of John Rawls, Jurgen Habermas, J.S. Mill, Amartya Sen, and Henry Shue to explain how, over the course of history, human beings have learned how to adopt a distinctively moral point of view from which it is possible to make universal, though not infallible, judgments of right and wrong. He explains how this distinctively moral point of view has led to the discovery of the moral importance of nine basic rights. Undoubtedly, the most controversial issue raised by the claim of universal rights is the issue of moral relativism. How can the advocate of universal rights avoid being a moral imperialist? In this book, Talbott shows how to defend basic individual rights from a universal moral point of view that is neither imperialistic nor relativistic. Talbott avoids moral imperialism by insisting that all of us, himself included, have moral blindspots and that we usually depend on others to help us to identify those blindspots. Talbott's book speaks to not only debates on human rights but to broader issues of moral and cultural relativism, and will interest a broad range of readers.
|Keywords||Human rights Philosophy Human rights Moral and ethical aspects|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Buy the book||$46.40 new Amazon page|
|Call number||JC571.T1445 2005|
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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Pablo Gilabert (2013). The Capability Approach and the Debate Between Humanist and Political Perspectives on Human Rights. A Critical Survey. Human Rights Review 14 (4):299-325.
Brooke Ackerly (2011). Human Rights Enjoyment in Theory and Activism. Human Rights Review 12 (2):221-239.
Similar books and articles
P. J. Lomelino (2007). Individuals and Relational Beings. Social Philosophy Today 23:87-101.
David A. Reidy, D. J. & D. Ph (2008). William Talbott's Which Rights Should Be Universal? [REVIEW] Human Rights Review 9 (2):181-191.
Mary M. Brabeck & Lauren Rogers (2000). Human Rights as a Moral Issue: Lessons for Moral Educators From Human Rights Work. Journal of Moral Education 29 (2):167-182.
Clark Butler (2002). Human Rights. Philo 5 (1):5-22.
Doris Schroeder (2012). Human Rights and Human Dignity. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (3):323-335.
John Mahoney (2007). The Challenge of Human Rights: Origin, Development, and Significance. Blackwell Pub..
Gail Evelyn Linsenbard (1999). Beauvoir, Ontology, and Women’s Human Rights. Hypatia 14 (4):145-162.
Joseph Wronka (1994). Human Rights and Social Policy in the United States: An Educational Agenda for the 21st Century. Journal of Moral Education 23 (3):261-272.
W. J. Talbott (2010). Human Rights and Human Well-Being. Oxford University Press.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads30 ( #61,379 of 1,100,136 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #304,144 of 1,100,136 )
How can I increase my downloads?