Legitimizing Human Rights : Secular and Religious Perspectives book cover
1st Edition

Legitimizing Human Rights
Secular and Religious Perspectives

Edited By

Angus J.L. Menuge

ISBN 9780367601508
Published June 30, 2020 by Routledge
232 Pages

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Book Description

When does the exercise of an interest constitute a human right? The contributors to Menuge’s edited collection offer a range of secular and religious responses to this fundamental question of the legitimacy of human rights claims. The first section evaluates the plausibility of natural and transcendent foundations for human rights. A further section explores the nature of religious freedom and the vexed question of its proper limits as it arises in the US, European, and global contexts. The final section explores the pragmatic justification of human rights: how do we motivate the recognition and enforcement of human rights in the real world? This topical book should be of interest to a range of academics from disciplines spanning law, philosophy, religion and politics.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction, Angus J.L. Menuge; Part I The Foundation of Human Rights: Grounding human rights: naturalism’s failure and Biblical theism’s success, Paul Copan; Theism and human rights, Paul Cliteur; Why human rights cannot be naturalized: the contingency problem, Angus J.L. Menuge; Human rights as legal rights, Friedrich Toepel. Part II Religious Liberty and the Secular State: Human rights in a secular state will depend on its legal; definition of religion, John H. Calvert; Balancing secularism with religious freedom: in Lautsi v Italy, the European Court of Human Rights evolved, Vito Breda; Restrictions on religious freedom: when and how justified?, John Warwick Montgomery. Part III Enforcing and Motivating Human Rights: No human rights without retribution: plights and promises of redress as if nothing happened, Hendrik Kaptein; The motivation to protect and advance human rights: a faith-based approach, Dallas Miller; Why is Man the primary and functional way for the Church?: the involvement of Christian teaching in the contemporary human rights discourse, Dobrochna Bach-Golecka; Index.

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Dr Angus Menuge is Professor and Chair of Philosophy, Concordia University, Wisconsin, USA. His teaching and research interests are in the areas of philosophy of mind, and science. He has published widely on these and related issues.


’Menuge has brought together a first-rate, international set of contributors to advance our reflection on the foundation, nature, and importance of human rights. This book should be studied by all those interested in human rights and who take seriously the need to inquire into the basis and justification of those rights.’ Charles Taliaferro, St. Olaf College, USA ’Amongst the plethora of books on human rights, this book is remarkable. Firstly, it confronts two opposite and socially important perspectives of human rights: secular and religious. Secondly, it presents dialogues from both sides and the contributors present differing viewpoints on many issues. This is what makes the book especially exciting and I recommend it with a deep conviction.’ Lech Morawski, Nicolas Copernicus University, Poland ’Since the publication of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, human rights have been an important element in bridging cultures. But what is the foundation of human rights? Can human rights be founded within secular culture or do we need religion for that? This is a central preoccupation in this interesting and important volume.’ Afshin Ellian, Leiden University, The Netherlands ’Taken together, the essays collected in Legitimizing Human Rights serve to remind atheists that if they insist on removing all traces of the law’s debt to the Biblical religions, they will have also undercut the most philosophically compelling grounds for upholding the idea of human rights.’ Steve Fuller, University of Warwick, UK ’One of the marks of an outstanding anthology is that its contributors confront the reader in such a way that he finds himself in an ebb and flow of dialogue, dissent, and agreement while paging through it. That’s how I found myself while reading this important collection. In an age in which religious belief is not taken seriously in the rarefied corridors of the academy, this book is a welcome contribution to the literature on hum