Volume 11, 2008
The Politically Pluralistic Conception of Human Rights
This paper is a sketch of the politically pluralistic conception of human rights. The conception will be illustrated by a basic characteristic of human rights under the constraint of the fact in the political. It is pluralistic because it is compatible with different moral values and cultures with qualification. It is also political because it considers political actions in practice and it does not follow from any moral doctrine which may be more generally or intrinsically related to human rights. I attempt to propose that the politically pluralistic conception of human rights can response to a challenge from the fact of reasonable pluralism in international discourse and practice. The steps of my argument will be constructed as follows: first, I will propose that the point in the political is to solve the first political question (Q) whether we consider the situation of a state or of international societies; secondly, I will identify that the most important characteristic of human rights is that individuals should be treated equally in certain proper ways (C), and will argue that C can make a contribution to solve Q; thirdly, I suppose human rights can be accepted by different political arrangements or cultures with C qualification if they do not become part of the problem while solving Q; finally, I will propose that political arrangements or cultures with C qualification do not have to limit to liberalism. If these four steps are successful, then there is a politically pluralistic conception of human rights which is constructed without a moral doctrine and is compatible with reasonable pluralism in human rights practice.