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The Idea of Human Rights: Four Inquiries

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195138283
ISBN-10: 0195138287
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Michael Perry's new book, The Idea of Human Rights, is in my view the best thing that this unusually thoughtful legal scholar has yet done. It is hardly possible to exaggerate the importance of the central idea that he is pursuing: that to speak, as so many claim to do, of 'human rights' from a purely secular perspective may well not make any sense. His willingness to confront the implications of 'the death of God' is precisely what is absent from so much moral, legal, and political rights talk. Anyone who wants to make universal claims for the concept of human rights needs to confront the arguments put forth in this provocative and timely book."--Paul Campos, University of Colorado (Boulder)


"For those who wish to plumb the depths of the largest issues of our time, this book must be read-for it does just that. The author's passion for crystallizing the meaning of human rights in humankind's understanding today is tangible, and his painstaking research and inquiry into others' views on the subject are evident from his reflective, albeit one-sided, debate with their theories....It is a teaching book....a valuable resource."--JURIST


"This timely reaffirmation of human dignity and value is a worthwhile complement to collections seeking to document the post-WW II formation of international human rights law and its defense."--Choice


"Excellent, perhaps Perry's best (which is saying a lot)....At a time when legal scholarship is becoming increasingly dull and unmoored...Chapter One of this book...seems to me an exceptional and outstanding piece of work. The essay shows, I think, that it is possible for a legal scholar to write carefully, thoughtfully, and even constructively about things that really matter...As with his other work, The Idea of Human Rights reflects Perry's broad reading and his effort to carefully consider the variety of objections, counter-arguments, etc. Not many legal scholars are as conscientious as Perry.


Questions of human righs have become important to a variety of disciplines and sub-disciplines-constitutional law, international law, jurisprudence and political science being the most obvious. Since Perry's book is to a large extent concerned with questions of religion and ethics, it will also be important for theologians and philosophers. Perry wrties lucidly enough that his book will be suitiable not only for scholars but for students in specialized seminars."--Steven Smith, Robert & Marion Short Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame


About the Author

Michael J. Perry holds the University Distinguished Chair in Law at Wake Forest University. He is the author of several books, including We the People: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Supreme Court (Oxford, 1999).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (February 24, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195138287
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195138283
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.9 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A. K. Beltaine on February 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
Is the idea of human rights a religious idea? Is there such a thing as an absolute right? What are the things that no human being should ever do to another human being? And what are the things that all human beings ought to do for other human beings? Is the language of human rights (as entitlement) part of the problem as we try to understand what is ethical behaviour?

Perry asks, and answers these questions. His writing is lawyerly, but accessible. He explores these questions for himself, taking you along for the ride. A smart guy with a lot of information about these things, it is an informative ride and useful to apply to both day-to-day life, and an understanding of what the UN is up against.

A required book for anyone who wants to work in politics, especially, but really for anyone who cares about know what we ought to do and ought not to do as moral human beings.
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Format: Paperback
"The Idea of Human Rights" explores and illuminates some fundamental questions about human rights: where they come from, whether they are universal, and whether they are absolute. I have nothing but praise for the book. The writing is lucid, the arguments are meticulous, and much thought is packed into only 157 pages of text and notes. Some readers will be put off by the Catholic slant, but the author is fair to different philosophical and theological views. Bottomline: The book is a small classic. Highly recommended for lawyers, philosophers, and activists.
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Format: Paperback
"The Idea of Human Rights" is one of those books that leaves a lasting impact on those that read it. The picture on the front is enough to instigate conversations on an incredible array of topics. I read it in a "rights" class investigating whether there were such a thing as objectively derived rights, as opposed to something we subjectively believe should be the case. If you are an ardent supporter of human rights and believe that they cannot be denied, you may not like this book, but you should read it nonetheless because it possesses issues with the concept of universal human rights that must be dealt with. If you are just investigating the concept, once again, it should be read as the issues posed cannot be avoided.

Written with clarity and a logical flow, the arguments are easy to follow and very tangible. I keep few academic books from when I was working on my degree. This is one of them.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I only had to read some of this book for my class but I think that the content within it was really well written and the author is very informed.
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By RSP on January 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
When I saw the price of the article I thought it was going to be, at least, weird. However, the item was in a perfect state. Better than I expected.
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