Jan. 10th, 2012

christabel: (Captain Wentworth Writing)
362 (context, Bentham's claim that human rights are nonexistent as they are not laws) -- in so far as human rights are meant to be significant ethical claims, the pointer to the fact that they do not necessarily have legal force is as obvious as it is irrelevant to the nature of those clasims.

the human rights approach demands that the acknowledged rights of everyone, in the form of respecting freedoms and corresponding obligations, must be given ethical recognition.

363 Herbert Hart in "Are There Any Natural Rights?" - Hart's view takes the form of seeing human rights as, in effect, parents of law: they motivate specific legislations.

364 if human rights are seen as powerful moral claims . . then surely we have reason for some catholicity in considering different avenues for promoting these moral claims.

365 "media exposure and criticism as well as public debates and agitation" "the influence of education and public discussion on civility and social contract"

372-73 - The basic general obligations here must be to consider seriously what one can reasonably do to help the realization of another person's freedome, taking note of its importance and influenceability, and of one's own circumstances and likely effectiveness. . . .

373 - The necessity to ask that question (rather than to proceed on the possibly comforting assumption that we owe nothing to each other) can be the beginning of a more comprehensive line of ethical reasoning, and the territory of human rights belongs there. . . . Given any person's limited abilities and reach, and the priorities between different types of obligations as well as the demands of other . . . concerns one may reasonable have ,there is serious practical reasoning to be undertaken, in which one's various obligations . . . must, directly or indirectly, figure.

The recognition of human rights is not an insistence that everyone rises to help prevent any violation of any human right no matter where it occurs. It is, rather, an acknowledgement that if one is in a position to do something effective in preventing the violation of such a right, then one does have a good reason to do just that -- a reason that must be taken into account in deciding what should have been done.

There is a universal ethical demand here, but not one that automatically identifies contingency-free, ready-made actions.

Because of the importance of communication, advocacy, exposure and informed public discussion, human rights can have influence without necessarily depending on coercive legislation.

366 Human rights can serve as the motivation for many different activities, from legislation and implementation of appropriate laws to enabling help from other people and public agitation against rights violations.

366-67 - an appropriate starting point for investigating the relevance of human rights must be the importance of the freedomes underlying those rights. The importance of freedoms provides a foundational reason not only for affirming our own rights and liberties, but also for taking an interest in the freedoms and rights of others -- going well beyond the pleasures and desire-fulfilment on which utiltarians concentrate.

372 - the significance of rights relates ultimately to the importance of freedom including its opportunity aspect and the process aspect. What about the duties of others that may be associated with these rights?

Since violation -- or non-realization -- of the freedoms underlying significant rights are bad things to happen . . . even othrs who are not themselves causing the violation, but who are in a position to help, have a reason to consider what they should do in this case.

However, the move from a reason to an action . . . to an actual duty to undertake that action is neither simple, nor sensibly covered under just one straightforward formula.

sympathy?
christabel: (Captain Wentworth Writing)
372-73 - The basic general obligation here must be to consider seriously what one can reasonably do to help the realization of another person's freedom, taking note of its importance and influenceability, and of one's own circumstances and likely effectiveness.

373 - The necessity to ask that question (rather than to proceed on the possibly comforting assumption that we owe nothing to each other) can be the beginning of a more comprehensive line of ethical reasoning, and the territory of human rights belongs there.

Given any person's limited abilities and reach, and the priorities between different types of obligations as well as the demands of other . . . concerns one may reasonably havae, there is serious practical reasoning to be undertaken, in which one's various obligations (including imperfect obligations) must, directly or indirectly, figure.

The recognition of human rights is not an insistence that everone rises to help prevent and violation of any human right no matter where it occurs. It is, rather, an acknowledgment that if one is in a position to do something effective in preventing the violation of such a right, then one does have a good reason to do just that -- a reason that must be taken into acount in deciding what should be done.

There is a universal ethical demand here, but not one that automatically identifies contingency-free, ready-made actions.

375 - the presumed precision of legal rights is often contrasted with inescapable ambiguityes in the ethical claims of human rights.

376 - when the human right of a person not to be tortured is acknowledged, the importance of freedom from torture is reaffirmed and acclaimed for everyone

379 - economic and social rights -- welfare rights

384 - human rights advocates want the recognized human rights to be maximally realized.

385 - A claim that a certain freedom is important enough to be seen as a human right is also a claim that reasoned scrutiny would sustain that judgment.

386 - What sustainability of a judgement demands is a general apreciation of the reach of reasoning in favour of those rights, if and when others try to scrutinize the claims on an impartial basis.

387 - The fact that monitoring of violations of human rights and the proceduring of "naming and shaming" can be so effective (at least in putting the violators on the defensive) is some indication of the reach of public reasoning when information becomes available and ethical arguments are allowed rather than suppressed.
CHANCERY!

388-89 - what tends 'to inflame the minds' of suffering humanity cannot but be of immediate interest both to policy-making and to the diagnosis of injustice. A sense of injustice must be examined even if it turns out to be erroneously based, and it must, of course, be thoroughly pursued if it is well founded.

389 - Howeer, since injustices relate, often enough, to hardy social divisions, . . . it is often difficult to surmount those barriers to have an objective analysis of the contrast between what is happening and what could have happened -- a constrast that is central to the advancement of justice.

Outrage can be used to motivate, rather than to replace, reasoning.

390 - Resistance to injustice typically draws on both indignation and argumen.

393 - It is frequently asserted that justice should not only be done, but also be "seen to be done."

the administration of justice can, in general, be more effective if judges are seen to be doing a good job, rather than botching things up. If a judgment inspires confidence and general endorsement, then very likely it can be more easily implemented.

394 - If the importance of public reasoning has been one of the major concerns of this book, so has been the need to accept the plurality of reasons that may be sensibly accomodated in an exercise of evaluation. . . when they yield conflicting judgements, there is an important challenge in determining what credible conclusions can be derived, after considering all the arguments.

395 - non-commensurability - irreducible diversity between distinct objects of value.

nearly all appraisals undertaken as a part of normal living involve prioritization and weighting of distinct concerns, and that there is nothing particularly special in the recognition that evaluation has to grammple with competing priorities.


412 - Rawls's attempt at getting to a perfectly just society with a combination of ideal institutions and corresponding ideal behaviour. In a world where those extremely demanding behavioural assumptions do not hold, the institutional choices made will tend not to deliver the kind of society that would have strong claims to being seen as perfectly just.

a good deal of the theory presented here has been directly concerned with people's lives and capabilities, and the deprivation and suppression suffered.

414-15 - a number of different theories of justice share some common presumptions about what it is like to be a human being. We could have been creatures incapable of sympathy, unmoved by the pain and humiliation f others, uncaring of freedom, and -- no less significant -- unable to reason, argue, disagree and concur. The strong presence of these features in human lives does not tell us a great deal about what particular theory of justice should be chosen, but it does indicate that the general pursuit of justice might be hard to eradicate in human society, evven though we can go about that pursuit in different ways.

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