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HRI 532/732 Ethical Perspectives on Human Rights

What is the ethical and philosophical basis for human rights laws and treaties? How did the concept of human rights emerge in modern ethical and political thought? How do human rights norms express contemporary ethical commitments? This class will explore the roots of modern human rights language in the history of Western philosophy and non-Western thought and contemporary philosophical debates about the ethical basis for human rights. We will then turn to particular areas of human rights law as sources for ethical norms. How do or should new ways of thinking about ethical norms shape and inform human rights discourse and law?

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