This book makes a significant contribution to the on-going international dialogue on the meaning of concepts such as human rights, humanity, and cosmopolitanism. The authors propose a new agenda for research into a Critical Theory of Human Rights. Each chapter pursues three goals: to reconstruct modern philosophical theories that have contributed to our views on human rights; to highlight the importance of humanity and human dignity as a complementary dimension to liberal rights; and, finally, to integrate these issues more directly in contemporary discussions about cosmopolitanism. The authors not only present multicultural perspectives on how to rethink political and international theory in terms of the normativity of human rights, but also promote an international dialogue on the prospects for a critical theory of human rights discourses in the 21st century.
’With a distinguished group of contributors, the essays in this book all seek to break new ground in considering certain fundamental issues of our global age. Such a project asks us to reconsider and transform some of the central, important and long-held normative conceptions that have become part of our fundamental conceptions of justice: human rights, human dignity and cosmopolitan institutions. These are part of our understanding of the global order. While these essays criticize our valuable and important concepts of global order, they do so not to debunk them as rather to show that many of the concepts and understandings of the last decades need to be rethought under new circumstances of justice. Moreover, many of these conceptions are tied to other important ideals of justice and of a shared global order that has been gradually developed over time, primarily by Western nations. Indeed, this sort of assessment and reconsideration of the current global order is long overdue. Such an endeavour is thus not so much anti-cosmopolitan, but rather the response to new demands and challenges to cosmopolitanism given the new circumstances of global justice. The criticisms made here can best be thought of as providing a much-needed basis for renewed global egalitarian thinking, including new ways of organizing a new cosmopolitan, non-dominating global order.’ James Bohman, Saint Louis University College of Arts and Sciences, USA