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Title The Relationship of Right: A Constitutive Vindication of Human Rights
Publication Date
Date Available
Degree Level doctoral
University/Publisher University of Toronto

What is the fundamental justification of the idea of human rights? In this dissertation I argue that human rights are justified in virtue of the special role they play in practical thought: they function as the constitutive conditions of the relationship of right. This answer has two distinctive features: it justifies human rights non-instrumentally and relationally, as those claim rights universally necessary for relating to each other as juridical equals, as lacking authority over one another. This constitutive argument for human rights contrasts with the predominant theories of human rights, which tend to justify human rights instrumentally as means for the protection of an independently intelligible (and non-relational) purpose (e.g., basic needs, urgent interests, autonomy, capacity-development). A strong reason for endorsing the account proposed here is that it explains better than its instrumentalist competitors the universal validity of human rights while offering a more robust response against the human rights skeptic. Furthermore, this constitutive argument gives us the resources for seeing how human rights form an indivisible whole comprising civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights and how human rights structure an international order of peace. My account thus promises to offer a much-needed defense of the ideals enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Subjects/Keywords Human Rights; Immanuel Kant; Rights Theory; Justice; Coherentism
Contributors Ripstein, Arthur; Philosophy
Language en
Country of Publication ca
Record ID handle:1807/43766
Repository toronto-diss
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2020-03-09

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