Human rights and the courts and tribunals that protect them are increasingly part of our moral, legal, and political circumstances. The growing salience of human rights has recently brought the question of their philosophical foundation to the foreground. Theorists of human rights often assume that their ideal can be traced to the philosophy of Immanuel Kant and his view of humans as ends in themselves. Yet, few have attempted to explore exactly how human rights should be understood in a Kantian framework. The scholars in this book have gathered to fill this gap. At the center of Kant’s theory of rights is a view of freedom as independence from domination. The chapters explore the significance of this theory for the nature of human rights, their justification, and the legitimacy of international human rights courts.
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"This volume explores pressing questions about human rights in light of recent developments in Kant scholarship. The contributors are a mix of respected scholars and exciting new voices. Together, they bring to the study of human rights distinctive Kantian ideas about the relational nature of human rights and the conceptual necessity of institutions to guarantee them."
—Arthur Ripstein, University of Toronto
"In recent decades, Immanuel Kant’s legal and political philosophy has won much-deserved recognition. But while its contributions to domestic public law and international law are justly celebrated, the idea of human rights has not played a central role in the discussion of Kant’s political thought. Contributors to this timely and important volume open the debate as to what Kant himself has to say on the topic of human rights. They apply his ideas to the pressing contemporary debates on the meaning and implementation of human rights. The articles in this volume go beyond traditional interpretations of Kant’s political thought in developing rights to health care and social security from Kantian roots. They make a strong case that a Kantian understanding of human rights is more productive than competing approaches when debating the competences of international organizations and supranational courts."
—Peter Niesen, University of Hamburg
Andreas Follesdal is a Professor of Political Philosophy, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo. He is also Principal Investigator on the ERC Advanced Grant project MultiRights: on the Legitimacy of Multi-Level Human Rights Judiciary and Director of PluriCourts, a Centre of Excellence for the Study of the Legitimate Roles of the Judiciary in the Global Order.
Reidar Maliks is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oslo and a research fellow in the MultiRights project. His book Kant’s Politics in Context is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. His articles have appeared in journals like Kantian Review and History of Political Thought.
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