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Human rights are one of the most controversial and widely discussed ideas in contemporary politics, ethics, and law. In recent decades, the philosophy of human rights has become one of the most lively areas in philosophy. One of the most significant contributors to the debate has been James Griffin, formerly White's Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Oxford.
In his book, On Human Rights, and in other work, Griffin has defended the view that contemporary judicial understandings of human rights rest on an insecure theoretical basis. This has had the result that the language of human rights has been over-extended, and consequently has less force where it really matters.
On Griffin's view, human rights are best understood as protections of our agency and personhood, and he argues his case with reference to many real-life human rights cases. Griffin's book has led to a great deal of discussion, and this volume collects several of the most significant responses to Griffin by internationally leading moral and political philosophers.
It also includes a response by Griffin himself. The book does not require first-hand knowledge of Griffin's work, and, while being required reading for scholars of human rights, will also make an ideal book for a undergraduate or graduate seminar on human rights.