2018-2019 Graduate Bulletin

HR 711 Human Rights and Humanitarianism

Human rights are claims of justice that hold merely in virtue of our shared humanity. In this course we will explore philosophical theories of the elementary and crucial form of justice known as humanitarianism, which aims to enable human rights and activate its claims in crisis situations. Among topics to be considered are the role that dignity and human rights play in grounding humanitarian ambitions, their relation to political and economic institutions that manage humanitarian agendas, and the distinction between duties of justice and claims of charity or “development assistance.” Finally, we will consider the application of such theories to concrete, problematic and pressing issues, such as global poverty, torture and genocide.