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Philosophical Understanding of Human Rights

by: Benulal Dhar

This book investigates the doctrine of natural rights and its critiques, and assesses the world-view which has shaped formulation of the theories of natural rights. It presents a clear exposition of some contemporary philosophical theories of rights developed independently of the natural rights paradigm and discusses the theories wherein the conception of rights is found to be compatible with utilitarianism.

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ISBN: 9788124607145
Year Of Publication: 2013
Edition: 1st
Pages : xii, 196p.
Bibliographic Details : Bibliography; Index
Language : English
Binding : Hardcover
Publisher: D.K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Size: 23
Weight: 470

Overview

Human rights is a topic that gets vividly and seriously debated at varied platforms, globally. The concept of human rights has a rich philosophical and theoretical tradition, and its philosophical dimension deserves proper attention. Having given an account of the origins and historical development of the idea of human rights, the book investigates the doctrine of natural rights and its critiques, and assesses the world-view that has affected its formulations.
The work also presents a clear exposition of some contemporary philosophical theories of rights developed independently of the natural rights paradigm and discusses the theories wherein the conception of rights is found to be compatible with utilitarianism. And, finally, while briefly arguing for discursive understanding of human rights based on the diversity of morals that is embedded in different cultural traditions of the world and for reconstruction of the conception of human rights in more inclusive and cross-cultural terms, the author analyses the conception of human dignity from the Vedantic perspective as a case study, which is regarded as an important underlying principle of human rights.
The volume is intended to introduce students and practitioners of human rights, and general readers to the philosophy of human rights.

Contents

Preface
Acknowledgement
1. Introduction
• The Challenges
• What Does Philosophical Understanding Mean?
• A Definition and Initial Characterizations of Human Rights
• The Subject Matter and Plan of the Work
2. The Idea of Human Rights: Its Origins and Historical Development
• Rights: Tracing the Philosophical Lineage to the Ancient and Medieval World
• The Idea of Natural Rights: Historical Development in the Modern Period
• The Idea of Natural Rights: Some Critical Responses
• The Idea of Human Rights: Some Contemporary Developments
• Conclusion
3. Rights as Natural Endowment: Some Philosophical Theories
• Thomas Hobbes: Setting the Stage for Modern Rights-debates
• John Locke: Rights as Centre-piece of Political Thought
• Thomas Paine: Restatement of Natural Rights
• Conclusion
4. The Natural Rights Paradigm: Some Critical Responses
• Jeremy Bentham: Natural Rights as “Nonsense upon Stilts”
• Edmund Burke: Natural Rights as “Pretended Rights”
• Karl Marx: Natural Rights as Rights of “Egoistic” Man
• Some Other Critical Reactions
• Conclusion
5. The Western World-view and Natural Rights: An Assessment
• The Primacy of the Individual
• Rationality
• Conclusion
6. Human Rights: Inventing New Dimensions
• Rights as Recognized Claims
• Rights as Taking a Stand
• Rights as Constellations of Hohfeldian Elements
• Rights as Claims
• Rights as Recognized Entitlements
• Conclusion
7. Human Rights and Utility
• Utilitarianism: An Overview
• Evolutionary Utilitarianism and Rights
• Revisionist Utilitarianism and Rights
• Conclusion
8. Human Rights, Moral Diversity and Indian Thought
• Human Rights and Moral Diversity
• The Kantian Conception of Human Dignity
• The VedÀntic Conception of Human Dignity
• Conclusion
Bibliography
Index

Meet the Author
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1961
Benulal Dhar is a senior faculty and teaches philosophy at Sukanta Mahavidyalaya (University of North Bengal), West Bengal, India. He works in the area of philosophy of human rights and phenomenological ethics. He was a recipient of DAAD fellowship under Indo-German Cultural Exchange Programme and studied philosophy sometime at Tübingen University, Germany. He is the author of Phenomenological Ethics (2008), The Central Themes of Material Ethics: Values, Experience, and Person (2011) and a number of research papers published in reputed academic journals.
Books of Benulal Dhar