Volume 11, 2001
Social and Political Philosophy
Intercultural Dialogue and Human Rights
A Latin American Reading of Rawls’s “The Law of Peoples”
In “The Law of Peoples,” John Rawls proposes a model for multi-culural dialogue based upon agreement. In liberal societies, we find agreement on issues such as human rights. However, I argue here that this proposal overcomes neither Eurocentrism nor Western-centrism, as liberal nations would decide which nations are “well organized hierarchical societies.” This second circle of nations would be merely invited peoples, who would not be allowed to contribute new proposals but only to accept the proposals of the liberal nations. I propose a model for attaining human rights through truly universal dialogue in which the representatives of all peoples are able to speak, make proposals, and accept the proposals of others on an equal basis.