Human rights have become one of the most important moral concepts in global political life over the last 60 years. Charles Beitz, one of the world's leading philosophers, offers a compelling new examination of the idea of a human right.
Philosophical attention to problems about global justice is flourishing in a way it has not in any time in memory. This paper considers some reasons for the rise of interest in the subject and reflects on some dilemmas about the meaning of the idea of the cosmopolitan in reasoning about social institutions, concentrating on the two principal dimensions of global justice, the economic and the political.
"The Moral Standing of States" is the title of an essay Michael Walzer wrote in response to four critics of the theory of nonintervention defended in "Just and Unjust Wars." It states a theme to which he has returned in subsequent work. Beitz offers four sets of comments.
James's Fairness in Trade seeks to offer an account of fair trade that is “internal” to an existing practice he describes as “mutual market reliance.” This paper distinguishes several senses of the distinction between “internal” and “external” that occur in the book and asks how, in its various senses, the distinction shapes and influences judgments about the fairness of the practice.
Global Basic Rights brings together many of the most influential contemporary writers in political philosophy and international relations to explore some of the most challenging theoretical and practical questions provoked by Henry Shue's classic book Basic Rights.
Today's international community may well view covert action and democracy as mutually exclusive policies. This article examines the practice of covert action in American foreign policy in light of events of the mid-1970s and 1980s, focusing on the scandalous misuse of executive authority and lack of accountability associated with covert means. Often manipulative and sometimes anonymous, covert operations raise critical morality concerns in a democratic society. Whether "any form of accountability is likely to be sufficient to bring the unauthorized use (...) of executive power under control" is the crucial issue to be addressed when examining the practicality of covert actions by the executive branch. (shrink)
Professor Flathman's main aim in this interesting paper is to set forth what we might call the “moderation thesis.” It holds that there may be occasions when the best thing to do, all things considered, is to violate a right – at least if the violation takes the form of what Flathman calls “civil encroachment” or “civil non-enforcement.” Moreover, it would be desirable, in a society whose practices include rights, for this belief to be generally accepted, so that those who (...) engaged with good reason in “civil encroachment” would receive the sympathetic support of the community. Let me begin by trying to explain the source of the problem to which this thesis is a response. As Flathman notes, rights have a discretionary character: if I have a right to do or to have something, it is up to me whether to do it or to have it. Having a right, I am entitled to make a choice. Since we cannot say, in advance, what choice I will make, we cannot say, in advance, what will be the state of the world after I make it. But since it seems plain that some states of the world are more desirable than others, it will always be possible that the consequences of my choice will be worse, on the whole, than the consequences of some other choice that I might have made but did not. To moderate rights is apparently to act in ways that redress or compensate for the undesirable results of their exercise. (shrink)
The problem of justifying legal punishment has been at the heart of legal and social philosophy from the very earliest recorded philosophical texts. However, despite several hundred years of debate, philosophers have not reached agreement about how legal punishment can be morally justified. That is the central issue addressed by the contributors to this volume. All of the essays collected here have been published in the highly respected journal Philosophy & Public Affairs. Taken together, they offer not only significant proposals (...) for improving established theories of punishment and compelling arguments against long-held positions, but also ori-ginal and important answers to the question, "How is punishment to be justified?"Part I of this collection, "Justifications of Punishment," examines how any practice of punishment can be morally justified. Contributors include Jeffrie G. Murphy, Alan H. Goldman, Warren Quinn, C. S. Nino, and Jean Hampton. The papers in Part II, "Problems of Punishment," address more specific issues arising in established theories. The authors are Martha C. Nussbaum, Michael Davis, and A. John Simmons. In the final section, "Capital Punishment," contributors discuss the justifiability of capital punishment, one of the most debated philosophical topics of this century. Essayists include David A. Conway, Jeffrey H. Reiman, Stephen Nathanson, and Ernest van den Haag. (shrink)