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This site is for PHIL 338 - Philosophy of Human Rights, Summer 2009.  The course syllabus is below, both viewable and downloadable (in PDF form).  If you have any questions, send them to: olsenb3@u.washington.edu.
 
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PHILOSOPHY 338 – Philosophy of Human Rights

June 22nd – August 21st | MWF 12:00-1:40 | EEB 025

Office: CDH 511A | Office Hours: Wednesday 1:40-3:40 or by appointment

Course Website: https://catalysttools.washington.edu/workspace/olsenb3/6125

E-mail: olsenb3@u.washington.edu

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This course is designed as an introduction to and exploration of issues in the philosophy of human rights.  Throughout the quarter, we will discuss how one ought to conceive of and justify human rights, guided by a close examination of various themes and controversies that surround these issues.  Among other lines of inquiry, we will consider whether rights should include positive rights (roughly, rights to be provided something) or only negative rights (roughly, rights to not be harmed or interfered with), we will address pluralistic challenges to human rights theories – both domestic (e.g., issues of multiculturalism) and international (e.g., issues of cultural relativism and/or the International Criminal Court) – and we will question whether rights can be extended to groups as well as individuals.  In general, our approach will be topic-based, drawing on theory as appropriate to help us make sense of the problems and conflicts we encounter.  Students will have the option of doing service learning with a Seattle-based human rights organization in conjunction with this course (see below for more information).  This course meets the I&S requirement, and students will be able to receive Writing Credit for the course.

 

TEXT(S):

The Philosophy of Human Rights, ed. Patrick Hayden, Paragon House, 2001. (Text)

Course Reader (Reader)

Course E-Reserve (Reserve)

 

ASSIGNMENTS:

In this course, you will be required to complete two short (1-3 page) response assignments (a third, optional response can be completed to replace the lowest grade of the first two responses), two longer (5-7 page) papers – which will be based, in part, on some of the work done in the response assignments – an outline/draft for the second longer paper, and three in-class quizzes.  (We will discuss each assignment in more detail in class).

 

Overall, the grading policy for all assignments will be as follows:

 

-  Responses – 30% (15% Each)

-  Paper #1– 15%

-  Paper #2 – 25% (Outline/

  Draft 10%, Final Product 15%)

- Quizzes – 30% (10% Each)

 

The due dates for all assignments will be as follows:

 

-  Response #1 [on weeks 1-3] – due by 7/13

-  Response #2 [research on human rights

  issue/service learning report] –  due by 8/3

-  Response #3 [on weeks 6-9] – due by 8/21

-  Paper #1 – due by 7/27

-  Paper #2 outline/draft – due by 8/14

-  Paper #2 (final product) – due by 8/21

LATE ASSIGNMENT POLICY:

      All assignments will be turned in electronically (to a catalyst drop box).  Assignments are considered late if they are not turned in by midnight on the day they are due.  Unless I grant an extension in advance, late work will be penalized.

 

PLAGIARISM POLICY:

Don’t plagiarize others’ work.  I assume you are familiar with what constitutes plagiarism and the University of Washington’s rules concerning academic conduct.  If you are not, I suggest you find out immediately, either by asking me or tracking the information down elsewhere (such as the University of Washington website).  While I encourage you to talk with others about assignments, concepts, etc., I expect that all work you submit in this course is your own, except to extent to which you give credit to other sources, texts, and/or people.  If I find an instance of plagiarism, I will do whatever I can to ensure that the responsible party is sufficiently penalized. 

 

CAVEAT:

The procedures written above, and the course schedule below, are subject to change in the event of unusual extenuating circumstance; students will be given advance notice of such changes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

COURSE TOPICS AND READINGS

 

Introduction/Foundations

  1. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) [Text: 353-358].
  2. Joel Feinberg, “The Nature and Value of Rights” [Text: 174-186].
  3. Maurice Cranston, “Human Rights, Real and Supposed” [Text: 163-173].
  4. Henry Shue. Basic Rights: Subsistence, Affluence, and U.S. Foreign Policy, 2nd Edition (Princeton University Press, 1980) pp. 13-34 [Reader].
  5. William Talbott, Which Rights Should be Universal?, Chaps. 3-4 [Reader].
  6. Thomas Pogge, “How Should Human Rights Be Conceived?” [Text: 187-211].

 

Theories of Rights

  1. John Locke, The Second Treatise of Government [Text: 71-79]
  2. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract [ Text: 80-87]
  3. John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism and On Liberty [Text: 136-147].
  4. Martha Nussbaum, “Capabilities and Human Rights” [Text: 212-240].
  5. John Rawls, Political Liberalism (excerpts from "Fundamental Ideas" and "The Basic Structure as a Subject"), pp. 15-28 and 271-278 [Reader].

 

 

 

COURSE TOPICS AND READINGS (continued)

 

Pluralistic/Relativistic Challenges

  1. American Anthropological Association, “Statement on Human Rights” (1947) [Reserve].
  2. American Anthropological Association, “Declaration on Anthropology and Human Rights” (1999) [Reserve].
  3. Kwasi Wiredu, “An Akan Perspective on Human Rights” [Text: 298-313].
  4. Abdullahi An-Na’im, “Human Rights in the Muslim World” [Text: 315-334].
  5. Charles Taylor, “A World Consensus on Human Rights?” [Text: 409-422].

 

Feminist Perspectives/Women’s Rights

  1. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women [Text: 660-668].
  2. Arati Rao, “Right in the Home: Feminist Theoretical Perspectives on International Human Rights” [Text: 505-525].
  3. Catharine MacKinnon, “Rape, Genocide, and Women’s Human Rights” [Text: 526-542].

 

Group Rights/Individual Rights

  1. Susan Moller Okin, “Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?” & “Reply” [Reader].
  2. African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights [Text: 359-366].
  3. James Crawford, “The Rights of Peoples: ‘Peoples’ or ‘Governments’?” [Text: 427-444].
  4. Will Kymlicka, “The Good, the Bad, and the Intolerable:  Minority Group Rights” [Text: 445-461].
  5. Draft U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (1994), [Text: 652-657].
  6. Karl Marx, “On The Jewish Question” [Text: 126-135].

 

Global Enforcement of Human Rights

  1. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide [Text: 658-659].
  2. Michael Smith, “Humanitarian Intervention: An Overview of the Ethical Issues” [Text: 478-501].
  3. Jamie Mayerfeld, “Who Shall Be Judge? The United State, the ICC, and the Global Enforcement of Human Rights” [Reserve].
  4. Michael Blake, “Tolerance and Theocracy: How Liberal States Should Think of Religious States” [Course Reserve].

 

A Universal Right to Democracy?

  1. Tony Evans, “If Democracy, Then Human Rights?” Third World Quarterly 22:4 (2001) 623-642 [Reserve].
  2. Anthony Langlois, “Human Rights without Democracy? A Critique of the Separationist Thesis,” Human Rights Quarterly 25 (2003) 990-1019 [Reserve].
  3. Amartya Sen, “The Importance of Democracy,” Development as Freedom (Knopf, 1999) 146-159 [Reader].
  4. Jeremy Waldron, “Participation: The Right of Rights,” Law and Disagreement (Oxford University Press, 1999) 232-254 [Reader].

 

 

 

COURSE SCHEDULE

(What follows is a rough schedule of when we will be discussing each reading.)

 

WEEK # 1:

 

Mon. 6/22 – Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) [Text]

Wed. 6/24 – Feinberg, “The Nature and Value of Rights” [Text];

Cranston, “Human Rights, Real and Supposed” [Text]

Fri. 6/26 – Shue, Basic Rights (excerpt) [Reader]

 

WEEK # 2:

 

Mon. 6/29 – Pogge, “How Should Human Rights Be Conceived?” [Text]

Wed. 7/1 – Talbott, Which Rights Should be Universal? (excerpt) [Reader]

Fri. 7/3 – NO CLASS

 

WEEK # 3:

 

Mon. 7/6 – Locke, The Second Treatise of Government [Text]; Rousseau, The Social Contract [Text]

Wed. 7/8 – Mill, Utilitarianism and On Liberty [Text]

Fri. 7/10 – Nussbaum, “Capabilities and Human Rights” [Text]

 

WEEK # 4:

 

Mon. 7/13 – Nussbaum, “Capabilities and Human Rights” (continued); Rawls, Political Liberalism

(excerpts) [Reader] / Response #1 Due

Wed. 7/15 – Rawls, Political Liberalism (excerpts) (continued) / Quiz Review

Fri. 7/17 – Quiz #1

 

WEEK # 5:

 

Mon. 7/20 – American Anthropological Association, “Statement on Human Rights” (1947) 

[Reserve]; An-Na’im, “Human Rights in the Muslim World” [Text]

Wed. 7/22 – Wiredu, “An Akan Perspective on Human Rights” [Text]

Fri. 7/24 – Taylor, “A World Consensus on Human Rights?” [Text]; American Anthropological

Association, “Declaration on Anthropology and Human Rights” (1999) [Reserve]

 

WEEK # 6:

 

Mon. 7/27 – Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women [Text];

Rao, “Right in the Home: Feminist Theoretical Perspectives on International Human Rights” [Text] / Paper #1 Due

Wed. 7/29 – African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights [Text]; Marx, “On The Jewish Question”

[Text]

Fri. 7/31 – Crawford, “The Rights of Peoples: ‘Peoples’ or ‘Governments’?” [Text]

 

 

WEEK # 7 –

 

Mon. 8/3 – Okin, “Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?” & “Reply” [Reader] / Response #2 Due

Wed. 8/5 – Kymlicka, “The Good, the Bad, and the Intolerable: Minority Group Rights” [Text];

Draft U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (1994) [Text]

Fri. 8/7 – Discussion of Paper #2 / Quiz #2

 

WEEK # 8:

 

Mon. 8/10 – Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide [Text]; Michael

Smith, “Humanitarian Intervention: An Overview of the Ethical Issues” [Text]

Wed. 8/12 – Evans, “If Democracy, Then Human Rights?” [Reserve]

Fri. 8/14 –Langlois, “Human Rights without Democracy? A Critique of the Separationist Thesis”

[Reserve] / Paper #2 Outline Due

 

WEEK # 9:

 

Mon. 8/17 – Sen, “The Importance of Democracy” [Reader]

Wed. 8/19 – Jeremy Waldron, “Participation: The Right of Rights” [Reader]

Fri. 8/21 – Paper #2 Due; Response #3 Due (optional); Quiz #3 / Course Conclusion

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