The Heart of Human Rights

ISBN : 9780190654504

Allen Buchanan
336 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
May 2017
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This is the first attempt to provide an in-depth moral assessment of the heart of the modern human rights enterprise: the system of international legal human rights. It is international human rights law-not any philosophical theory of moral human rights or any "folk" conception of moral human rights-that serves as the lingua franca of modern human rights practice. Yet contemporary philosophers have had little to say about international legal human rights. They have tended to assume, rather than to argue, that international legal human rights, if morally justified, must mirror or at least help realize moral human rights. But this assumption is mistaken. International legal human rights, like many other legal rights, can be justified by several different types of moral considerations, of which the need to realize a corresponding moral right is only one. Further, this volume shows that some of the most important international legal human rights cannot be adequately justified by appeal to corresponding moral human rights. The problem is that the content of these international legal human rights-the full set of correlative duties-is much broader than can be justified by appealing to the morally important interests of any individual. In addition, it is necessary to examine the legitimacy of the institutions that create, interpret, and implement international human rights law and to defend the claim that international human rights law should "trump" the domestic law of even the most admirable constitutional democracies.


Chapter One: Introduction
Chapter Two: A Pluralistic Justificatory Methodology for Human Rights
Chapter Three: The Task of Justification
Chapter Four: The Case for a System of International Legal Human Rights
Chapter Five: An Ecological View of The Legitimacy of International Legal Human Rights Institutions
Chapter Six: The Problematic Supremacy of International Human Rights Law
Chapter Seven: The Challenge of Ethical Pluralism
Chapter Eight: Conclusions
Appendix One: Non-Rights Norms in Major Human Rights Documents
Appendix Two: Results of the Investigation

About the author: 

Allen Buchanan is the author of eleven books and over one hundred-fifty articles. His work is mainly in Political Philosophy, Philosophy of International Law, and Bioethics. He currently divides his time between Duke University, King's College London Dickson Poon School of Law, and the University of Arizona.

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