Discourse ethics and the political conception of human rights

This article examines two recent alternatives to the traditional conception of human rights as natural rights: the account of human rights found in discourse ethics and the ‘political conception’ of human rights influenced by the work of Rawls. I argue that both accounts have distinct merits and that they are not as opposed to one another as is sometimes supposed. At the same time, the discourse ethics account must confront a deep ambiguity in its own approach: are rights derived in a strong sense from the conditions of ‘communicative freedom’ or are they developed from the participants’ own reflection upon their ongoing and continuously changing practices and institutions? The political conception recently proposed by Joshua Cohen can, I argue, contribute to the resolution of this ambiguity, though not without some modifications of its own. Keywords: human rights; discourse ethics; The ‘political conception’ of rights; Seyla Benhabib; John Rawls; Rainer Forst; Michael Ignatieff; Thomas Pogge; Joshua Cohen (Published: 10 March 2009) Citation: Ethics & Global Politics. DOI: 10.3402/egp.v2i1.1938
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.3402/egp.v2i1.1938
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,411
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

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Zhenrong Gan (2008). The Politically Pluralistic Conception of Human Rights. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 11:33-39.
Katherine Eddy (2007). On Revaluing the Currency of Human Rights. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 6 (3):307-328.
Fabienne Peter (2013). The Human Right to Political Participation. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 7 (2):1-16.
Kenneth Baynes (2009). Toward a Political Conception of Human Rights. Philosophy and Social Criticism 35 (4):371-390.
Şener Aktürk (2007). Perspectives on Daniel Bell's East Asian Challenge to Human Rights. The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 3:37-44.
Rowan Cruft (2005). Human Rights, Individualism and Cultural Diversity. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 8 (3):265-287.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

49 ( #99,339 of 1,924,755 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #417,923 of 1,924,755 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.