PHIL 338 A: Philosophy Of Human Rights

Meeting Time: 
TTh 9:30am - 11:20am
EEB 003
William Talbott
William J. Talbott

Additional Details:

This course will provide you with a comprehensive introduction to the philosophy of human rights.  The course begins with an overview of the main issues in the conceptualization and justification of human rights.  The course then considers the following special topics:  Should human rights be understood only negatively, as rights not to be coerced, or they include positive rights—that is, rights to be provided with something (e.g., subsistence, health care, or education).  Are human rights culturally relative?  We will consider the position that human rights reflect "Western values" and do not apply to other societies.  We will also consider the potential conflict between women's rights and traditional values; and feminist criticisms of human rights as androcentric.  Other questions include:  Are there gay and lesbian rights?  Are human rights individual rights, or do they also include group rights?  We will also discuss international enforcement and the role of the International Criminal Court.  There will be a Midterm Exam, a Final Exam, several short written assignments, and a final project.  For their final project, students will have the option of doing service learning with a Seattle-based human rights organization and preparing a service learning report or doing a research paper on a human rights issue.  Students are required to have clickers for use in class.  This course qualifies as a core course for the Human Rights Minor and is an approved course for the Law, Societies, & Justice sub-field on rights.  Meets I&S Requirement. Prerequisites:  None. 

TEXTS: Required: (1) The Philosophy of Human Rights, Patrick Hayden, (2) Volume 1 of the course reader, and (3) Turning Technologies Clicker; Recommended: (1) Which Rights Should Be Universal?, William J. Talbott and (2) Volume 2 of the course reader (optional), which contains excerpts from my book, Which Rights Should Be Universal?

Catalog Description: 
Theories of human rights and the bearing of these theories on issues of public policy such as legitimacy of war and terrorism, economic justice, and whether future generations have rights.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Other Requirements Met: 
Service Learning
Last updated: 
January 10, 2018 - 9:15pm