Towards a Political Philosophy of Human Rights

In Debra Satz & Annabelle Lever (eds.), Ideas That Matter: Justice, Democracy, Rights. New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press (2019)

Authors
Annabelle Lever
SciencesPo, Paris
Abstract
Is there a human right to be governed democratically – and how should we approach such an issue philosophically? These are the questions raised by Joshua Cohen’s 2006 article, ‘Is There a Human Right to Democracy?’ – a paper over which I have agonised since I saw it in draft form, many years ago. I am still uncomfortable with its central claim, that while justice demands democratic government, the proper standard for human rights is something less. But, as I hope to show, the reasons for that discomfort are occasioned less by the thought that democracy may not be a human right than by the very significant gaps in our understanding of rights which debates about the human rights status of democracy exemplify.
Keywords democracy, human rights, right to democracy, Joshua Cohen, Tom Christiano, Pablo Gilabert, equality, John Tasioulas, justice,
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