Human Rights: Relativism vs. Universalism

Schools of Public Engagement: Humanities

Liberal Arts
Undergraduate Course
Degree Students
Human Rights
Summer 2023
Taught By: Luis Guzman
Section: A

CRN: 3271

Credits: 3

Is there such a thing as an objective or universal point of view? On one hand, the history of Western philosophy can be viewed as a continuous search for a fixed point of view, for a perspective that reveals how things "really are." On the other hand, many serious thinkers have attempted to relativize any postulation of an absolute perspective. This age-old debate is reflected in modern debates, such as the conflict between the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, promulgated by the United Nations in 1948, and objections to the imposition of a particular value system on a pluralistic world. This course explores arguments raised by ethical relativists throughout the history of philosophy, from Sextus Empiricus to Nietzsche to Richard Rorty, in order to arrive at the contemporary debate about human rights. Students analyze the strengths and weaknesses of universalist and relativist perspectives in attempting to answer the question: How can a coherent system of human rights be established in a world of diverse and sometimes contradictory social values?

College: Schools of Public Engagement (NS)

Department: Humanities (NHUM)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: Online - Synchronous

Max Enrollment: 21

Add/Drop Deadline: June 13, 2023 (Tuesday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: July 21, 2023 (Friday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 7:20am EDT 9/29/2023

Meeting Info:
Days: Tuesday, Thursday
Times: 8:00pm - 9:50pm
Building: Online Course
Room: 999
Date Range: 6/6/2023 - 7/27/2023