Social Philosophy and Policy 32 (1):127-148 (2015)

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Abstract
:The main point of contention between “naturalistic” and “political” theories of human rights concerns the need to invoke the notion of moral human rights in justifying the system of human rights included in the international practice. Political theories argue that we should bypass the question of the justification of moral human rights and start with the question of which norms and principles should be adopted to regulate the practice. Naturalistic theories, by contrast, claim that a convincing answer to the latter question will have to presuppose some answer to the former. An adequate justification of the system of human rights included in the international practice, according to naturalistic approaches, will ultimately have to rely on some appeal to moral human rights. I call this view the “Priority of the Moral over the Political.” In this essay, I argue that the Priority of the Moral is harder to dismiss than political theories of human rights suggest, and that before we can assess the plausibility of these theories, they need to say more in defense of their claim that they can do without this view. I then consider the two main objections that seem to have motivated many philosophers to abandon the naturalistic approach to the justification of human rights in favor of the political one. I conclude by suggesting that a variant of naturalistic justification, the basic-needs account, has the resources to address these objections.
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DOI 10.1017/s0265052515000102
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References found in this work BETA

The Law of Peoples.John Rawls - 1993 - Critical Inquiry 20 (1):36-68.
Justice and the Priority of Politics to Morality.Andrea Sangiovanni - 2008 - Journal of Political Philosophy 16 (2):137–164.
Elements of a Theory of Human Rights.S. E. N. Amartya - 2004 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 32 (4):315–356.
Rawls's Law of Peoples.Charles R. Beitz - 2000 - Ethics 110 (4):669-696.

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Citations of this work BETA

Charles Beitz’ Idea of Human Rights and the Limits of Law.Alain Zysset - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-20.

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