Zachary R. Calo

Document Type




The idea of human rights embodies the moral outlook and aspirations of modernity. It is through the language of human rights that political obligations are established and articulated, and it is through the language of human rights that an account of human nature and personhood is given meaning and form. The language of human rights is our common moral vocabulary. As Michael Perry writes, "the morality of human rights-that is, the morality that grounds the law of human rights-has become the dominant morality of our time; indeed, unlike any morality before it, the morality of human rights has become a truly global morality." The idea of human rights, in this respect, embodies more than simply a system of legal norms. It rather represents, more elementally, a morality that aims to transcend all particular commitments and to serve as the basis of a shared moral order. The language of human rights, argues Upendra Baxi, has become a discourse that seeks "to supplant all other ethical languages."



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