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Are Human Rights Western? A Contribution to the Dialogue of Civilizations

Are Human Rights Western? A Contribution to the Dialogue of Civilizations
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Item Code: IDF354
Author: Arvind Sharma
Publisher: Oxford University Press, New Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 2006
ISBN: 0195679482
Pages: 306
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 8.8" X 5.8"
weight of the book: 510 gms
From the Jacket:

Human rights as an issue occupies centre stage in contemporary public debate. Part of the debate on human rights is about the origins and Significance of the nation itself. This book examines the propositions, often taken for granted, that the concept of human rights is Western.

It points out that the wisdom of drafting a statement of rights for the entire world on the basis of values of the societies of Western Europe and America, was questioned even at time of framing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. In the decades since came into being, the Declaration has came under increased criticism at various times from states in Asia and Africa. The charge has been repeatedly made by policy-makers and scholars that prevailing ideas of human rights of Western origin and not necessarily of relevance to societies in the rest of the world.

The book is divided into nine parts, which examines the arguments from a range of perspectives including the historical, secular, economic, philosophical, and religious. Learned, yet accessible in its approach, it goes on to examine a question of increasing contemporary significance - whether the claim regarding compensation for historical wrongs, inflicted by colonial and other powers, should be allowed to evolve into a human right.

This book will be of interest to scholars and students of human rights, international law and organizations, as well as activists and NGOs, in addition to an informed lay audience.

About the Author:

Arvind Sharma is Birks Professor of Comparative Religion, Faculty of Religious Studies, McGill University, Montreal, Canada. His previous books include Hinduism and Human Rights (OUP 2004) and Hinduism and its Sense of History (OUP 2003).

Introduction IX
Outline of the Book XV
Part I: The Historical Perspective
1. The Historical Argument 3
2. The Moral Argument 25
3. The Cultural Argument 36
4. The Argument by Natural Law 42
5. The Argument by Law 51
6. The Argument by Negative Rights 58
Part II: The Secular Perspective
7. The Secular Argument 65
8. The Argument via Individualism 78
9. The Egalitarian Argument 86
Part III: The Economic Perspective
10. The Capitalist Argument 93
11. The Liberal Argument 96
12. The Argument of Democratic Capitalism 105
Part IV: Rational and Philosophical Perspectives
13. The Universalist Argument 115
14. The Argument via Rationality 120
15. The Philosophical Argument 130
16. The Argument from Ethical Relativism 135
Part V: The Historical Perspective
17. The Modernity Argument 145
18. The Habitative Argument 153
19. The Argument by Design 161
20. The Package-Deal Argument 168
Part VI: Religious Perspective
21. The Religious Argument 175
22. The Homo Sapiens Argument 178
23. The Deontological Argument 181
24. The Christian Argument 185
25. The Argument by Human Suffering 189
Part VII: The Colonial Perspective
26. The Colonial Argument 193
27. The Imperialist Argument 197
28. The Racist Argument 199
29. The Parochial Argument 201
Part VIII: The Unilateral Perspective
30. The Rhetorical Argument 217
31. The Anthropological Argument 224
32. The Legal Argument 229
33. The Exclusive Argument 232
Part IX: The Institutional Perspective
34. The International Argument 239
35. The Elitist Argument 243
36. The Argument through the United Nations 248
Conclusion 254
Bibliography 271
Index 280

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