- Paperback: 308 pages
- Publisher: Fordham University Press; 1 edition (December 2, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0823254399
- ISBN-13: 978-0823254392
- Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1 x 6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #685,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Architecture of Concepts: The Historical Formation of Human Rights 1st Edition
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De Bolla's concern for contemporary human rights is clearly evident, and there can be no doubt that he has undertaken the studies that comprise his carefully composed, intricately argued book with the ultimate aim of contributing to the cause of human rights. (―The Los Angeles Review of Books)
The Architecture of Concepts surprises us at every turn. It uses the latest data bases and search engines to upend the standard history of the concept of human rights, which exploded much later in the
eighteenth century than usually supposed. It digs into American history
by revealing the First Continental Congress as a crucial site of conceptual innovation, and reveals Thomas Paine's Rights of Man has having dispersed the phrase more than the conception. At every turn, de Bolla forges an entirely original theory of concepts as culturally active forces--not merely definitions or ideas, but instruments of thought and action.
Peter de Bolla’s ambitious The Architecture of Concepts essentially offers three books in one. As its subtitle suggests, it aims to contribute to an understanding of the historical origins of one specific, politically highly relevant concept: human rights. Over the book’s three central chapters, de Bolla develops a highly detailed and referenced argument, investigating the development of the conceptual structure of human rights at three pivotal points in history: in the pre-revolutionary American colonies, during the first Continental Congress, and in the influential debate between Burke and Paine following the French Revolution. (The British Society for Literature and Science)
This is the most detailed study to date of the process by which the idea of the "rights of man" entered popular discourse during the epoch of the American and French revolutions and subsequently became central to modern political thinking. Methodologically sophisticated and analytically innovative, it presents a penetrating and persuasive account of the linguistic transformations through which rights concepts emerged, and their relationship to related concepts, such as duty and humanity. The masterful use of digital archives makes possible for the first time disclosure of a much wider range of meanings within rights discourses, and thus reveals more clearly how rights concepts were formed and developed. This is a valuable addition to the growing literature on the emergence of the language of human rights. (―Gregory Claeys Royal Holloway
University of London)
This new book by Peter de Bolla, professor of cultural history and aesthetics at the University of Cambridge, is a major contribution to historical methodology as well as to Enlightenment studies and our understanding of how modern universal human rights arose. (―Critical Inquiry, The University of Chicago)
In 'The Architecture of Concepts; The Historical Formation of Human Rights',Peter de Bolla develops a distinctive method for the purposes of cultural history. He particularly aims to identify concepts―and in particular the concept of human rights―in terms of their cultural availability. (―Restoration and Eighteenth Century, Studies in English Literature)
De Bolla has produced that rare thing―an academic book that does something new. Beginning with a splendid but challenging theoretical distinction between rights conceived as the specifiable properties of people called persons, and right conceived as a universal and axiomatic value of human life, but one that is nowhere available for empirical inspection, de Bolla proceeds to examine two momentous contributions to political history―The Declaration of Independence and Thomas Paine's Rights of Man. (―Jonathan Lamb Vanderbilt University)
About the Author
Peter de Bolla is Professor of Cultural History and Aesthetics at the University of Cambridge. His most recent books are The Fourth of July and the Founding of America and Aesthetics and the Work of Art co-edited with Stefan Uhlig.
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