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On Human Rights Hardcover – April 7, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0199238781 ISBN-10: 0199238782

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (April 7, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199238782
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199238781
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,524,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"thoughtful, interesting, informative, often illuminating." --Social Theory and Practice

"This book is a masterpiece ...it will be studied for a long time to come."--Brad Hooker, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies

"James Griffin's new book is a singular contribution to the philosophy of human rights. In it he defends his own well-thought-out account with great subtlety and ingenuity, but the exposition of his account and the discussion of the important issues are so nicely structured and so clear and well-informed that the book could clearly be used as a text in an undergraduate course. At the same time, Griffin's exposition of his view is so subtle and nuanced and the arguments so careful and cogent that the book is an essential work for specialists in the field... his book shows that philosophers have an important contribution to make to the conceptual and moral issues that are at the heart of much ongoing discourse on the nature and content of human rights."--William J. Talbott, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"Arguably the most significant philosophical meditation on human rights...[since] the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.... Not only the most powerful, fully elaborated contemporary philosophical contribution to the topic, but also one that has put in place many of the foundations on which any future work should build."--John Tasioulas, Ethics

"A fresh and timely look at the whole field of human rights. Griffin adroitly picks his way through this judicial and moral minefield in which a person's perception of a 'human right' can be condemned as a crime by someone of a different political or religious background."--Patricia Allen, Northern Echo

"James Griffin modestly sees his book as an early contribution to a theoretical critique of modern interpretations of rights, but it is more significant than that. Academic, intellectually demanding, clearly written and rigorously thought through. This is not a polemic but an important work of scholarly philosophy, one that may lead to a fundamental reappraisal of something that impinges ever more closely upon us. It is also one of those books that make philosophy matter."--Alan Judd, The Spectator

About the Author

James Griffin is White's Professor of Moral Philosophy Emeritus at the University of Oxford; Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University; and Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, Canberra.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By not me VINE VOICE on October 15, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The goal of "On Human Rights" is to clarify the nature of human rights and thus promote a more realistic and effective human rights discourse. Human rights, in the author's view, are tools to protect persons in their capacity as normative agents, i.e., as agents able to choose and pursue a conception of the good life. Such agents need autonomy, the basic necessities of life, and liberty from interference by other persons. These core requirements of normative agency mark the boundary of human rights.

So far so good. The book is sensible and clearly written, and the theoretical sections, especially the chapter on the metaphysics of human rights, are throught-provoking. The book stumbles, however, when it goes on to treat "applied" or "empirical" topics such as international law, the right to die, the right to privacy, or democracy. These sections suffer from the author's understandable (and acknowledged) lack of expertise in law, political science, health care and other issues. The discussion is not terribly fine-grained, and tends to meander.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By hitchiker on June 19, 2014
Format: Paperback
For a more in-depth review of this book - this link is the best I found so far. As stated in the subject, it's an excellent starter book for theory of Human rights.

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0 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book a arrived at my residence very promptly, two days after I had ordered it. Also the book was in the very condition it was described as. I couldn't be happier with my experience. Thanks!
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