Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

2007

Abstract

Using the accounts of Gewirth and Griffin as examples, the article criticises accounts of human rights as those are understood in human rights practices, which regard them as rights all human beings have in virtue of their humanity. Instead it suggests that (with Rawls) human rights set the limits to the sovereignty of the state, but criticises Rawls conflation of sovereignty with legitimate authority. The resulting conception takes human rights, like other rights, to be contingent on social conditions, and in particular on the nature of the international system.

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