Human Rights Ethics: A Rational Approach
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Human Rights Ethics makes an important contribution to contemporary philosophical and political debates concerning the advancement of global justice and human rights. Butler's book also lays claim to a significant place in both normative ethics and human rights studies in as much as it seeks to vindicate a universalistic, rational approach to human rights ethics. Butler's innovative approach is not based on murky claims to "natural rights" that supposedly hold wherever human beings exist; nor does it succumb to the traditional problems of justification associated with utilitarianism, Kantianism, and other procedural approaches to human rights studies. Instead, Butler proposes "a dialectical justification of human rights by indirect proof" that claims not to be question begging. Very much in the spirit of Hegel and Habermas, Butler proposes to vindicate a "totally rational account of human rights," but one that depends concretely and historically on a dialectically constructed "right to freedom of thought in its universal modes."