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The Idea of Human Rights: Four Inquiries

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9780195116366: The Idea of Human Rights: Four Inquiries
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Of all the influential―indeed, formative―moral ideas to occupy centre stage in the twentieth century, the notion of human rights is for many the most difficult. Inspired by a 1988 trip to El Salvador, Michael Perry's new book explores this idea in full. His typically lucid exposition of this complex issue (one so rich in social, political, and philosophical implications, especially at the international level) is rooted in the recognition that every human being is sacred, "inviolable," has "inherent dignity" and worth, and is an end to himself. Therefore, in Perry's view, the concept of human rights is inescapably religious.

But are human rights universal? And are they absolute? The latest thinking from one of our nation's leading authorities on morality, politics, and religion, The Idea of Human Rights: Four Inquiries addresses these questions adroitly. The legal and moral dimensions of "rights" rhetoric itself―such as its meanings and functions―are also carefully considered.

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Review:

Perry refers to a wide range of contempory writing by leading human rights lawyers, Anglo-American philosophers and theolgians. Writing with integrity and in a careful but informal style, he highlights the major contemporary debates on "the difficult idea of human rights". The Cambridge Law Journal 01/04/1999

About the Author:

Michael J. Perry holds the University Distinguished Chair in Law at Wake Forest University. He is the author of several books, including We the People: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Supreme Court (Oxford, 1999).

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