David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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International Philosophical Quarterly 49 (4):473-484 (2009)
Are there universal and objective rights? Is the discourse of “rights” a mask for Western interests? The way in which individuals assess these arguments affects the hope that globalization will have a moral dimension. One aim of this paper is to reinforce such a hope by drawing on a broad tradition that goes back to Plato and that is carried forward more recently by Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein. Two sources for relativism, postmodernism and scientism, are examined and found to depend on a narrow understanding of reason’s ability to grasp different kinds of truths. This essay also examines cosmopolitan views about the universality of rights that treat “universality” too abstractly. The kind of universality or objectivity preferred here recognizes that differences are as significant as similarities
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