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The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 3, 2007

Human Rights

Antonio Pérez-Estévez
Pages 61-72

May Western Rights, by Extension, Become Human Rights?
A New Reading of John Rawls' The Law of Peoples

The problem that underlies Rawls' The Law of Peoples is the problem of how something particular—western— may become universal and human. Rawls claims that he solves this problem by means of extending particular western rights to other non western peoples. The extension of western liberal rights is done by a second original position similar to the first one in A Theory of Justice. The paper tries to prove that the second original position, in its second step, is not similar to the first one and the parties taking part in this second original position are not symmetrically situated. Rawls' proposal falls into ethnocentrism and eurocentrism. The only way to transform particular rights into universal rights is by means of a universal multicultural dialogue where all peoples can make proposals and listen to other peoples' proposals.

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