THE PHILOSOPHY OF HUMAN RIGHTS: THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE

SPS/01 - 6 CFU - 2° semestre

Docente titolare dell'insegnamento

LUIGI CARANTI
Email: lcaranti@unict.it
Edificio / Indirizzo: Palazzo Pedagaggi, via Vittorio Emanuele II, 49
Telefono: 3289659543
Orario ricevimento: Lun-Mer 12-14


Modalità di svolgimento dell'insegnamento

The course presupposes active participation. Students are required to select at least one text from the reading list and present it to their colleagues. Classes will be run as seminars: it is expected that students read the material before class and participate in the discussion of the material presented. In addition to in-class presentations, students are required to write a 10-15 page final paper on a topic relevant to the course, and to take a final oral exam.


Prerequisiti richiesti

Good knowledge of the English language



Frequenza lezioni

Mandatory (students can skip max 25% of class)



Contenuti del corso

Although discussions about international issues often make reference to the notion of Human Rights – the war in Syria and the ensuing migration of refugees, the killing of demonstrators in Myanmar, the shortage of anti-covid vaccines for poor countries are obvious examples – the philosophical foundations of these rights, their claim to cross-cultural universality, their ability to be a sort of secularized religion of mankind are controversial. This class aims to introduce students to the philosophical debate on the foundational issue and to stimulate independent yet informed thinking.



Testi di riferimento

1) Cruft R., Liao S. M., and Renzo M., “The Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. An Overview”, in Cruft R., Liao S. M., and Renzo M. (eds.) Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. Oxford: 2015, p.1-23.

2) Raz, Joseph, “Human Rights Without Foundations”, The Philosophy of International Law (henceforth PIL), OUP, 2010: 321-337.

3) Buchanan, A. "Why International Legal Human Rights? “The Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. An Overview”, in Cruft R., Liao S. M., and Renzo M. (eds.) Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. Oxford: 2015, p.244-262.

4) Waldron, J., "Is Dignity the Foundation of Human Rights?" in Cruft R., Liao S. M., and Renzo M. (eds.) Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. Oxford: 2015, p.117-137.

5) Simmons, J. "Human Rights, Natural Rights, Human Dignity" in Cruft R., Liao S. M., and Renzo M. (eds.) Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. Oxford: 2015, p.138-152.

6) Cristiano, Thomas “Self-Determination and the Human Right to Democracy” in Cruft R., Liao S. M., and Renzo M. (eds.) Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. Oxford: 2015, p.459-480.

7) Peter, Fabienne, “A Human Rights to Democracy?”, in Cruft R., Liao S. M., and Renzo M. (eds.) Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. Oxford: 2015, p.481-491.

8) Buchanan, Allen, “The Egalitarianism of Human Rights”, Ethics, Vol. 120, No. 4 (July 2010), pp. 679-710.

9) Li, Xiarong “Asian Values and the Universality of Human Rights” PHR, p.397-408

10) An-Nai’im, Abdullahi A., “Human Rights in the Muslim World”, PHR, p.315-334

11) Held, Virginia Care and Human Rights? in Cruft R., Liao S. M., and Renzo M. (eds.) Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. Oxford: 2015, p.624-641

12) Mendus, Susan Care and Human Rights. A Reply to Virginia Held, in Cruft R., Liao S. M., and Renzo M. (eds.) Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. Oxford: 2015, p.642-652

13) “The Responsibility to Protect”, available on line (http://responsibilitytoprotect.org/ICISS%20Report.pdf). In particular p. 1-28.

14) “The Responsibility to Protect”, available on line (http://responsibilitytoprotect.org/ICISS%20Report.pdf). In particular p. 29-55.


Altro materiale didattico

Recommended but non-mandatory extra readings

 

Nickel, James, “Human Rights”, 13-35 in Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, (on-line text available)

Li, Xiarong “Tolerating the Intolerable: the Case of Female Genital Mutilation”, pp. 2-8, in Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly (Winter 2001); on-line www.puaf.umd.edu/IPPP/reports

 

Donnelly, Jack “Human Rights and Cultural Relativity” pp. 89-106 in Donnelly, Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice, Cornell University Press 2003, 2nd edition

 

Nickel, James, “Universal Rights in a Diverse World” chapt 4 of his Making Sense of Human Rights, (www. spot.colorado.edu/~nickelj/mshor-welcome.htm)

 

Teson, Ferdinand “International Human Rights & Cultural Relativism” pp 379-96 PHR

 

Charles Taylor “A World Consensus on Human Rights?” pp 409-22, PHR

 

Langlois, Andrew “The Real Asian Values Debate”, pp. 46-72 in his The Politics of Justice and Human Rights; Cambridge University Press 2001

 

An Naim, Abdullahi A. “Toward a Cross-Cultural Approach to Defining International Standards of Human Rights: The Meaning of Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment…” in Human Rights in Cross Cultural Perspectives, edited by An-Na’im, University of Pennsylvania Press pp. 19-43 , from now on CCP

 

El Fadl, Khaled Abou “The Place of Tolerance in Islam”. Boston: Beacon Press 2002.

 

Shapiro, Ian and Kymlicka, Will (eds.) “Introduction” to Ethnicity and Group Rights

 

Kymlicka, Will “The Good, the Bad, and the Intolerable: Minority Group Rights” pp 445-61 in PHR

 

Donnelly, Jack “Group Rights and Human Rights”, pp. 204-24 in his Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice.

 

McDonald, Michael “Should Communities Have Rights? Reflections on Liberal Individualism” pp 33-61, CCP

 

Franck, Thomas M. “The Emerging Right to Democratic Governance” pp. 46-01 in The American Journal of International Law, vol. 86, no. 1 (Jan. 1992)

 

John Rawls The Law of Peoples, “Decent Consultation Hierarchy” pp. 71-78

 

Rao, Arati “Right in the Home: Feminist Theoretical Perspectives on International

Human Rights” pp. 505-25 in PHR

 

Li, Xiarong “Tolerating the Intolerable: the Case of Female Genital Mutilation”, pp. 2-8, in Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly (Winter 2001); on-line reserve and on-line www.puaf.umd.edu/IPPP/reports/

 

Ashworth, Georgina “The Silencing of Women”, pp. 259-76 in Dunne and Wheeler, Human Rights in Global Politics

 

Smith, Michael J. “Humanitarian Intervention: an Overview of the Ethical Issues” pp.478-501 in PHR

 

Nardin, Terry “The Moral Basis of Humanitarian Intervention” Ethics and International Affairs vol. 16 no. 1, (2000): 57-70 and in Dunne and Wheeler, Human Rights in Global Politics

 

Donnelly, Jack “Genocide and Humanitarian Intervention” pp. 242-60 in his Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice

Shue, Henry “Nationality and Responsibility”pp. 131-52 in his Basic Rights;

 

Steiner and Alston “Challenges to Universalism-- Children” pp. 511-37 in, International Human Rights in Context

 

Loescher, Gil “Refugees: a global human rights and security crisis” pp. 233-58 in Dunne and Wheeler, Human Rights in Global Politics

 

Cranston, Maurice “Human Rights, Real and Supposed” pp 163-73, PHR

 

Buchanan, Allen “Rules for a Vanished Westphalian World” 697-721 Ethics (July

2000;

 

Sen Amartya, “Elements of a Theory of Human Rights”, Philosophy & Public Affairs, 32, n 4, Sept 2004, pp 315-56

 

Pogge, Thomas “An Egalitarian Law of Peoples”, Philosophy & Public Affairs, vol. 23, no.3 (Summer 1993)

 

Pogge, Thomas. “How Should Human Rights be Conceived?” in World Poverty and Human Rights. Polity 2008: 58-76

 

Smith, Michael J., “Humanitarian Intervention: An Overview of the Ethical Issues”

 

Singer, Peter, “How Can We Prevent Crimes against Humanity?” Human Rights, Human Wrongs. Oxford Amnesty Lectures, edited by N. Owen, p.89-137

 

Rorty, Richard “Human Rights, Rationality and Sentimentality”, in The Philosophy of Human Rights (henceforth PHR), edited by Patrick Hayden, Paragon Press, 2001, pp 241-56

 

Caranti, L., “Kant’s Theory of Human Rights,” in T. Cushman (Ed.), Handbook of Human Rights, Routledge 2011, 35-44.



Programmazione del corso

 ArgomentiRiferimenti testi
1each paper listed as mandatory reading in the syllabus 
2IntroductionCruft R., Liao S. M., and Renzo M., “The Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. An Overview”, in Cruft R., Liao S. M., and Renzo M. (eds.) Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. Oxford: 2015, p.1-23 
3Human Rights without foundations?Raz, Joseph, “Human Rights Without Foundations”, (Besson, S. Tasioulas J. eds) The Philosophy of International Law (henceforth PIL), OUP, 2010: 321-337 
4International human Rights Vs Human RightsBuchanan, A. "Why International Legal Human Rights? “The Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. An Overview”, in Cruft R., Liao S. M., and Renzo M. (eds.) Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. Oxford: 2015, p.244-262 
5Human Dignity and Human RightsWaldron, J., "Is Dignity the Foundation of Human Rights?" in Cruft R., Liao S. M., and Renzo M. (eds.) Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. Oxford: 2015, p.117-137. 
6Natural Rights and Human RightsSimmons, J. "Human Rights, Natural Rights, Human Dignity" in Cruft R., Liao S. M., and Renzo M. (eds.) Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. Oxford: 2015, p.138-152. 
7Democracy, Equality and Human Rights: Critiques and InterpretationsCristiano, Thomas “Self-Determination and the Human Right to Democracy” in Cruft R., Liao S. M., and Renzo M. (eds.) Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. Oxford: 2015, p.459-480. 
8Democracy, Equality and Human Rights: Critiques and InterpretationsPeter, Fabienne, “A Human Rights to Democracy?”, in Cruft R., Liao S. M., and Renzo M. (eds.) Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. Oxford: 2015, p.481-491. 
9Democracy, Equality and Human Rights: Critiques and InterpretationsBuchanan, Allen, “The Egalitarianism of Human Rights”, Ethics, Vol. 120, No. 4 (July 2010), pp. 679-710. 
10Universalism, Pluralism, Multiculturalism: the Asian and the Islamic ChallengesLi, Xiarong “Asian Values and the Universality of Human Rights” In: P. Hayden (ed.) The Philosophy of Human Rights (Henceforth PHR), Paragon House 2001: p.397-408 
11Universalism, Pluralism, Multiculturalism: the Asian and the Islamic ChallengesAn-Nai’im, Abdullahi A., “Human Rights in the Muslim World”, PHR, p.315-334 
12The Feminist Critique: Are Human Rights Patriarchal? Held, Virginia Care and Human Rights? in Cruft R., Liao S. M., and Renzo M. (eds.) Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. Oxford: 2015, p.624-641 
13The Feminist Critique: Are Human Rights Patriarchal? Mendus, Susan Care and Human Rights. A Reply to Virginia Held, in Cruft R., Liao S. M., and Renzo M. (eds.) Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. Oxford: 2015, p.642-652 
14Right to Intervention and Responsibility to ProtectThe Responsibility to Protect”, available on line (http://responsibilitytoprotect.org/ICISS%20Report.pdf). In particular p. 1-55 
15Right to Intervention and Responsibility to ProtectBellamy, Alex “Responsibility to Protect or Trojan Horse? The Crisis in Darfur and Humanitarian Intervention after Iraq” (Ethics & International Affairs, 19(2), 31-54. doi:10.1111/j.1747-7093.2005.tb00499.x) 
16Right to Intervention and Responsibility to ProtectPetra Perisic, “Implications of the Conflicts in Libya and Syria for the Responsibility to Protect Doctrine” 67(5) Zbornik PFZ 783 (2017) 


Verifica dell'apprendimento


MODALITÀ DI VERIFICA DELL'APPRENDIMENTO

Assessment will take place by looking at four aspects of students’ performance: 1) Participation in class, 2) Presentation, 3) Final paper, 4) Final exam

Grade Weights:

Participation in class: 25%

Presentation: 25%

Final paper: 25%

Final exam: 25%


ESEMPI DI DOMANDE E/O ESERCIZI FREQUENTI

1) what is Christiano's argument for the existenc eof a human right to democracy?

2) how would you differentiate the instrumentalist, orthodox, political approach to the foundation of human rights

3) how is the questino of the foundation different from that of the nature of human rights?

4) Are yo convinced by Woldron's account of dignity as an organizing concept for human rights?

5) what is teh egalitarianism of human rigts on which Allen Buchanan insists?

6) Should human rights be protected through the use of force, at leats in some cases? what is your assessment of the R2P doctrine?




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