Republicanism and human rights: a plausible combination?


Hope S (2008) Republicanism and human rights: a plausible combination?. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 21 (2), pp. 367-382.

I consider a small but growing corner of the global justice literature: conceptions of human rights advanced under republican lights. I outline three recent republican justificatory arguments for principles of global justice embodied in human rights: Stuart White's appeal to the republican emphasis on civic virtue, and the appeals to a republican conception of liberty advanced by Philip Pettit and James Bohman. I argue that in all three accounts, too little attention is paid to constraints on the reasons that can be offered to a diverse domain of agents. I sketch an outline of the criteria plausible justificatory reasons must contain. In the appeal to virtue, no such reasons are forthcoming. In the appeal to liberty, such reasons may be forthcoming if republicans give up the claim that human rights are justified by appeal to ‘liberty' itself. I conclude that a suitably modified appeal to the republican conception of liberty may be plausible.

Cambridge Review of International Affairs: Volume 21, Issue 2

Publication date13/08/2008
PublisherTaylor and Francis