christabel: (Captain Wentworth Writing)
[personal profile] christabel
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?

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