Human Rights: Tool for Liberation or Domination?

Schools of Public Engagement: BPATS

Liberal Arts
Undergraduate Course
Degree Students
Human Rights
Fall 2024
Taught By: Luis Guzman
Section: A

CRN: 17252

Credits: 3

Is there such a thing as an objective or universal point of view regarding how human beings ought to live? Does the Western world have the authority to impose on others a universal idea? The history of Western philosophy could be interpreted as the continuous search for an absolute point of view. This has been called foundationalism, universalism, or objectivism, with its specific perspective God’s-eye view or the view from nowhere. There have just as well been counter-currents all along rejecting either the existence of such a viewpoint or the possibility of inhabiting it that have attempted to relativize any postulation of an absolute perspective. This question has become more urgent in recent years given the juxtaposition of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights established by the United Nations in 1948, on the one hand, and the concerns of many regarding the imposition of a particular set of values in a pluralistic world society, on the other. This set the stage for counter-declarations emanating from African and Asian nations. This course will focus on the philosophical arguments raised by relativist positions throughout the history of philosophy (Protagoras, Sextus Empiricus, Diderot, Nietzsche, Richard Rorty) in order to arrive at the contemporary debate on human rights with the appropriate theoretical tools. Students will analyze the strengths and weaknesses of such positions. This will allow them to enter the contemporary debate and attempt to answer the guiding question of the course: can human rights be grounded in a pluralistic world society?

College: Schools of Public Engagement (NS)

Department: BPATS (BPAT)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: Online - Synchronous

Max Enrollment: 21

Add/Drop Deadline: September 9, 2024 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: November 17, 2024 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Open*

* 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: 12:28pm EDT 6/20/2024

Meeting Info:
Days: Monday
Times: 6:00pm - 7:50pm
Building: Online Course
Room: 999
Date Range: 8/26/2024 - 12/9/2024