An Internationalist Conception of Human Rights
Philosophical Forum, Vol. 36, pp. 367-397
31 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2008
I develop and defend a conception of human rights as constituting the answer to a fundamental practical question of foreign policy faced by liberal democracies around the world: When is a government the agent of a determinate people capable of committing that people to this or that by way of treaty or other voluntary undertaking within international law? I do not argue that this is the only important conception of human rights; I do argue that it is a conception that ought to have a certain primacy in a normative theory of international relations.
Keywords: human rights, Rawls, international relations, legitimacy, global justice, treaty, law of peoples
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