Taking international legality seriously: A methodology for human rights


Book Section

© the several contributors 2018. All rights reserved. The chapter aims to draw philosophical attention to the neglected enterprise of figuring out whether the existence of international legal human rights is morally justified. Philosophers usually focus on whether moral human rights exist, which is often rather controversial. As is argued here, however, the existence of a moral right not to be imprisoned for debt (say) is neither necessary nor sufficient for an international legal human right not to be imprisoned for debt to be morally justified. The chapter proceeds to indicate how rich and complex the issues involved in morally justifying an international legal human right really are; and to show how much philosophical distance there is between such a justification and the existence of a relevant moral right. Finally, the chapter draws some lessons from its analysis for the methodological debate over political approaches to human rights.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Buchanan, A; Sreenivasan, G

Published Date

  • April 19, 2018

Book Title

  • Human Rights: Moral or Political?

Start / End Page

  • 211 - 229

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9780198713258

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/oso/9780198713258.003.0013

Citation Source

  • Scopus