Hart (2000)

Human rights have become an important ideal in current times, yet our age has witnessed more violations of human rights than any previous less enlightened one. This book explores the historical and theoretical dimensions of this paradox. Divided into two parts, the first section offers an alternative history of natural law, in which natural rights are represented as the eternal human struggle to resist opression and to fight for a society in which people are no longer degraded or despised. At the time of their birth in the 18th Century and again in the popular uprisings of the last decade, human rights became the dominant critique of law and society. The radical rhetoric of rights and its apparently endless expansive potential has led to its adoption by governments and individuals alike seeking to justify their actions on moral grounds and has undermined its radical edge. Part Two examines the philosophical logic of rights. The classical critiques of Kant, Burke, Hegel and Marx illuminate traditional aproaches to the concept of human rights. The work of Heidegger, Sartre and psychoanalysis is used to deconstruct the metaphisical essentialism of bothe universalists and cultural relativists. Finally, through a consideration of the ethics of otherness, and with reference to recent human rights violations, it is argued that the end of human rights is to judge law and politics from a moral stand point which both transcends the present and is historically relevant.
Keywords Human rights Philosophy  Human rights History  Natural law
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy this book Find it on Amazon.com
Call number JC571.D77 2000
ISBN(s) 1901362914   1841130001
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 72,607
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

From Human Rights to Sentient Rights.Alasdair Cochrane - 2013 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 16 (5):655-675.
Moral (and Ethical) Realism.Howard Richards - 2019 - Journal of Critical Realism 18 (3):285-302.

View all 58 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
19 ( #587,487 of 2,533,629 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
9 ( #81,537 of 2,533,629 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes