"The justification to others of what we take to be the foundation of the human-rights ideas eventually reaches an impasse beyond which no argument can take us. Here, the debate is moved forward not by answers but by questions, new perspectives, and thoughtful reconsiderations of older ones. In this Kohen excels. Reading his discussion of other authors is like sitting in the classroom of a gifted teacher, listening to clear, fair-minded, even generous critiques of complex arguments delivered in a style both pleasant and engaging."
Perspectives on Politics 6.2, 2008
"Kohen’s locating human rights in a deliberative process has much to recommend it. Namely, its construction of rights in a free and equal discourse is by definition more inclusive and respectful of differing practices and traditions than the Enlightenment approaches that Rorty condemned… Kohen’s program will be viewed sympathetically amongst many in liberal democracies with robust histories of such traditions. But it is an open question whether or not non-liberal societies – or even newly emerging ones like Russia – are prepared to meet Kohen’s challenge. Nevertheless, In Defense of Human Rights represents a fine contribution to the growing literature on its chosen subject and must be regarded as essential reading for all engaged with these matters."
Philosophy in Review, 2007
"Kohen’s proposal to defend human rights in terms of a consensus that is global in scope (rather than in metaphysical claims about human nature), if it can be confirmed by historical and contemporary empirical investigation, is a significant improvement over justifications of human rights offered by Perry, Gewirth, and Dworkin, not only in my view, but also in terms of the criteria of inclusivity, persuasiveness, and practicality that Kohen defends."
Human Rights Review 7.1, 2007
"...this book represents a fine contribution to the growing literature on its chosen subject, and it must be regarded as essential reading for all engaged with these matters."
David Lay Williams, University of Wisconsin--Stevens Point
About the Author
Ari Kohen has been Assistant Professor of Justice Studies and Political Science at James Madison University, USA; from August 2007, he will be Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA.