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Natural Human Rights
A Theory

$21.99 (P)

  • Date Published: August 2014
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107664210

$ 21.99 (P)
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About the Authors
  • This timely book by internationally regarded scholar of ethics and social/political philosophy Michael Boylan focuses on the history, application, and significance of human rights in the West and in China. Boylan engages the key current philosophical debates prevalent in human rights discourse today and draws them together to argue for the existence of natural, universal human rights. Arguing against the grain of mainstream philosophical beliefs, Boylan asserts that there is continuity between human rights and natural law and that human beings require basic, essential goods for minimum action. These include food, clean water and sanitation, clothing, shelter, and protection from bodily harm, including basic healthcare. The achievement of this goal, Boylan demonstrates, will require significant resource allocation and creative methods of implementation involving public and private institutions. Using the classroom-tested dynamic approach of combining technical argument with four fictional narratives about human rights, the book invites readers to engage with the most important aspects of the discipline.

    • Presents major modes of thinking about human rights, and argues for an original position
    • Sets out traditional ways that the West and China understand natural law (and the resulting human rights)
    • Introduces each major section with a short story that depicts a violation of human rights in line with the pedagogical structure presented
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "In this important book Boylan the philosopher and Boylan the novelist join forces. By combining fine stories; conceptual, historical, and literary analysis; an extended systematic argument; and pertinent case studies, Boylan successfully develops his theory of universal human rights. A demonstration of admirable scholarship and a superb addition to philosophy!"
    Klaus Steigleder, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany

    "In this innovative and accessible work on human rights Michael Boylan has managed to successfully integrate case studies, history of ideas, and general policy prescription with original philosophical analysis. The result is a valuable teaching and learning tool."
    Seumas Miller, Charles Sturt University and Delft University of Technology

    "Michael Boylan’s Natural Human Rights is to be considered both as an introduction to the history of our thinking about human rights, as well as a proper defense and a contemporary justification. Discussing major issues of today’s society, Boylan is offering his own view and is prepared to engage in a journey with the classics and the moderns."
    Bart Raymaekers, Institute of Philosophy, Leuven

    "A comprehensive, profound, carefully crafted study of the theory of natural human rights. Scholarship at its best."
    Amitai Etzioni, George Washington University, and author of The New Golden Rule

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107664210
    • length: 318 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 153 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.44kg
    • contains: 2 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Conceptualizing Human Rights:
    1. How do we talk about human rights?
    2. A short history of human rights in the West
    3. Human rights in China
    Part II. Justifications for Human Rights:
    4. Legal justifications
    5. Interest justifications
    6. Agency justifications
    7. Ontology, justice, and human rights
    Part III. Applications of Human Rights:
    8. War rape
    9. Political speech
    10. LGBT rights.

  • Author

    Michael Boylan, Marymount University, Virginia
    Michael Boylan is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Marymount University. He is author of 26 books and more than 100 articles. His monograph A Just Society (2004) was recently the subject of an edited volume featuring fourteen authors from eight countries, entitled Morality and Justice: Reading Boylan's 'A Just Society'. He has served on professional and governmental policy committees and was a Fellow at the Center for American Progress and a program presenter at the Brookings Institution. He is an international figure who has been an invited speaker at a number of prominent universities outside the United States, including Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, University College London, Trinity College (Dublin), University College (Dublin), The Sorbonne, The Katholic University of Leuven, University of Oslo, University of Copenhagen, Cologne University, Bochum University, Twente and Delft Universities, Santiago University (Chile), University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, Australian National University and Charles Sturt University (Waga Waga, Australia). He is also a published novelist and poet.

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