The Idea of Human Rights

Author: Michael J. Perry
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 9780195138283
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Inspired by a 1988 trip to El Salvador, Michael J. Perry's new book is a personal and scholarly exploration of the idea of human rights. Perry is one of our nation's leading authorities on the relation of morality, including religious morality, to politics and law. He seeks, in this book, to disentangle the complex idea of human rights by way of four probing and interrelated essays. * The initial essay, which is animated by Perry's skepticism about the capacity of any secular morality to offer a coherent account of the idea of human rights, suggests that the first part of the idea of human rights--the premise that every human being is "sacred" or "inviolable"--is inescapably religious. * Responding to recent criticism of "rights talk", Perry explicates, in his second essay, the meaning and value of talk about human rights. * In his third essay, Perry asks a fundamental question about human rights: Are they universal? In addressing this question, he disaggregates and criticizes several different varieties of "moral relativism" and then considers the implications of these different relativist positions for claims about human rights. * Perry turns to another fundamental question about human rights in his final essay: Are they absolute? He concludes that even if no human rights, understood as moral rights, are absolute or unconditional, some human rights, understood as international legal rights, are--and indeed, should be--absolute. In the introduction, Perry writes: "Of all the influential--indeed, formative--moral ideas to take center stage in the twentieth century, like democracy and socialism, the idea of human rights (which, again, in one form or another, is an old idea) is, for many, the most difficult. It is the most difficult in the sense that it is, for many, the hardest of the great moral ideas to integrate, the hardest to square, with the reigning intellectual assumptions of the age, especially what Bernard Williams has called 'Nietzsche's thought': 'There is not only no God, but no metaphysical order of any kind....' For those who accept 'Nietzsche's thought', can the idea of human rights possibly be more than a kind of aesthetic preference? In a culture in which it was widely believed that there is no God or metaphysical order of any kind, on what basis, if any, could the idea of human rights long survive?" The Idea of Human Rights: Four Inquiries will appeal to students of many disciplines, including (but not limited to) law, philosophy, religion, and politics.

Toward a Theory of Human Rights

Author: Michael J. Perry
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 113946082X
Format: PDF, Docs
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Neither the morality of human rights nor its relation to the law of human rights is well understood. In this book, Michael Perry addresses three large issues. There is undeniably a religious ground - indeed, more than one religious ground - for the morality of human rights. But is there a secular ground for the morality of human rights? What is the relation between the morality of human rights and the law of human rights? Perry here addresses the controversial issues of capital punishment, abortion, and same-sex unions. What is the proper role of courts, in a liberal democracy, in protecting - and therefore in interpreting - constitutionally entrenched human rights? In considering this question, special attention is paid to the Supreme Court and how it should rule on issues such as capital punishment and abortion. Toward a Theory of Human Rights makes a significant contribution both to human rights studies and to constitutional theory.

Prophetic Politics

Author: David S. Gutterman
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9780801473388
Format: PDF, ePub
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"In an era of military conflict and economic hardship, religious and political leaders adamantly speak in the language of crisis. Whether one attributes this public religious fervor to a response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, millennial hopes and fears, a sense of moral decay (generally based on either growing economic inequality or the 'breakdown of the American family'), or a sign of the normal progression of the stages of history, the discourse of religious revival is increasingly prominent. And, as is amply evident in the United States and throughout the world, devout declarations of religious belief in the public sphere can bring intractable passions to politics."—from Chapter 1What are the relationships among religion, politics, and narratives? What makes prophetic political narratives congenial or hostile to democratic political life? David S. Gutterman explores the prophetic politics of four twentieth- and twenty-first-century American Christian social movements: the Reverend Billy Sunday and his vision of "muscular Christianity"; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights movement; the conservative Christian male organization Promise Keepers; and the progressive antipoverty organization Call to Renewal. Gutterman develops a theory based on the work of Hannah Arendt and others and employs this framework to analyze expressions of the prophetic impulse in the political narrative of the United States. In the process, he examines timely issues about the tense and intricate relationship between religion and politics. Even prior to George W. Bush's faith-based initiative, debates about abortion, family values, welfare reform, and environmental degradation were informed by religious language and ideas. In an interdisciplinary and accessible manner, Gutterman translates the narratives employed by American Christian social movements to define both the crises in the land and the path to resolving these crises. The book also explores the engagement of these prophetic social movements in contentious political issues concerned with sex, gender, sexuality, race, and class, as well as broader questions of American identity.

History of the Idea of Progress

Author: Robert Nisbet
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1351515462
Format: PDF, Kindle
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The idea of progress from the Enlightenment to postmodernism is still very much with us. In intellectual discourse, journals, popular magazines, and radio and talk shows, the debate between those who are "progressivists" and those who are "declinists" is as spirited as it was in the late seventeenth century. In History of the Idea of Progress, Robert Nisbet traces the idea of progress from its origins in Greek, Roman, and medieval civilizations to modern times. It is a masterful frame of reference for understanding the present world. Nisbet asserts there are two fundamental building blocks necessary to Western doctrines of human advancement: the idea of growth, and the idea of necessity. He sees Christianity as a key element in both secular and spiritual evolution, for it conveys all the ingredients of the modern idea of progress: the advancement of the human race in time, a single time frame for all the peoples and epochs of the past and present, the conception of time as linear, and the envisagement of the future as having a Utopian end. In his new introduction, Nisbet shows why the idea of progress remains of critical importance to studies of social evolution and natural history. He provides a contemporary basis for many disciplines, including sociology, economics, philosophy, religion, politics, and science. History of the Idea of Progress continues to be a major resource for scholars in all these areas.

Human Rights

Author: Mary E. Williams
Publisher: Greenhaven Press, Incorporated
ISBN: 9781565107960
Format: PDF, ePub
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Debates the rights of women, refugees, child laborers, and political prisoners, including contributions from Hillary Rodham Clinton, Katha Pollitt, Jimmy Carter, Amnesty International, and the China Internet Information Center.

The Americanization of Religious Minorities

Author: Eric Michael Mazur
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
ISBN: 9780801880568
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Part of the value of this analysis rests in its exploration of how minority religious communities balance the desire to join the dominant culture, on the one hand, with the sometimes conflicting desire to maintain a particularistic community identity, on the other."—from the Introduction

Images and Human Rights

Author: Alison Dundes Renteln
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
ISBN: 144386269X
Format: PDF, Kindle
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This book explores issues of creation, distribution, and control of images through official and unofficial sources, asking what impact that has had on human rights and what the ethical implications are. The volume includes research from healthcare advocates, human rights scholars and activists, photographers, and visual anthropologists who see a need for more careful contextual interpretation of images in global and local settings. It represents diverse forms of scholarship and the ever-changing field of research methodologies, and it examines how human rights issues take advantage of visual methodologies and how the visual works to communicate these issues with the public. As such, this collection will be useful for researchers studying in the fields of visual culture and human rights.