TPS Meeting-November 8, 2011

This week’s paper details…

Who: Andrew MacDonald

When: From noon to 1pm

Where: Phil House

Why: Again, TPS is awesome

Abstract: The most significant challenge for human rights theorists is to account for the justification of the strong moral claims/obligations which are implicit within the declaration of the right. In his proposed Capabilities Approach, Sen argues that in order to justify human rights we reject the classical Hohfeldian distinction between negative (first-order) and positive (second-order) rights in favor of a single human right regarding the freedom of opportunity. Focusing on this, I criticize Sen’s conflation of the two rights and subsequent defense of opportunity as inadequate both in scope and force to supply the necessary obligations essentially implied by a human right. I conclude that the Capabilities Approach falls victims to the same arguments of justification it seeks to avoid.


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