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In Defense of Human Rights: A Non-Religious Grounding in a Pluralistic World Hardcover – Apr 11 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (April 11 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415420156
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415420150
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 458 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,420,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"The justification to others of what we take to be the foundation of the human-rights ideas eventually reaches an impasse beyond which no argument can take us. Here, the debate is moved forward not by answers but by questions, new perspectives, and thoughtful reconsiderations of older ones. In this Kohen excels. Reading his discussion of other authors is like sitting in the classroom of a gifted teacher, listening to clear, fair-minded, even generous critiques of complex arguments delivered in a style both pleasant and engaging."

Perspectives on Politics 6.2, 2008

"Kohen’s locating human rights in a deliberative process has much to recommend it. Namely, its construction of rights in a free and equal discourse is by definition more inclusive and respectful of differing practices and traditions than the Enlightenment approaches that Rorty condemned… Kohen’s program will be viewed sympathetically amongst many in liberal democracies with robust histories of such traditions. But it is an open question whether or not non-liberal societies – or even newly emerging ones like Russia – are prepared to meet Kohen’s challenge. Nevertheless, In Defense of Human Rights represents a fine contribution to the growing literature on its chosen subject and must be regarded as essential reading for all engaged with these matters."

Philosophy in Review, 2007

"Kohen’s proposal to defend human rights in terms of a consensus that is global in scope (rather than in metaphysical claims about human nature), if it can be confirmed by historical and contemporary empirical investigation, is a significant improvement over justifications of human rights offered by Perry, Gewirth, and Dworkin, not only in my view, but also in terms of the criteria of inclusivity, persuasiveness, and practicality that Kohen defends."

Human Rights Review 7.1, 2007

"...this book represents a fine contribution to the growing literature on its chosen subject, and it must be regarded as essential reading for all engaged with these matters."

David Lay Williams, University of Wisconsin--Stevens Point

About the Author

Ari Kohen has been Assistant Professor of Justice Studies and Political Science at James Madison University, USA; from August 2007, he will be Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9c64efc0) out of 5 stars 1 review
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c733c90) out of 5 stars Well written, useful in multiple fields July 8 2007
By Tdukie - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Kohen's book is a much needed exploration of human rights in an increasingly multi-cultural world. It would be useful in political theory courses, courses on international law, and specific topics courses related to the beliefs of Rorty and other modern philosophers who have dealt with the subject. A great reference for all libraries to own.