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A Journal of Social and Political Theory

Editor-in-Chief: Lawrence Hamilton, University of the Witwatersrand

Volume 63 / 2016, 4 issues per volume (March, June, September, December)

Subjects: Social and Political Theory, Literature, Philosophy, History

CALL FOR PAPERS: 'Turner and his Times'

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Rawls, Human Rights, and Cultural Pluralism: A Critique

Patrick Hayden


In his 1993 Oxford Amnesty Lecture, John Rawls attempts to respond

to some of the criticisms his theory of justice has received from those

concerned with the international aspects of social justice, and in particular

with universal human rights. Rawls takes what he refers to as

the ‘law of peoples’ as the focus for his discussion. He claims that a

general liberal theory of justice may be extended internationally and

form the basis for a universally recognised basic human rights minimum.

Additionally, Rawls suggests that this scheme of international

justice is an improvement on other liberal theories dealing with

human rights because, he concludes, it would be acceptable to nonliberal,

non-Western societies as well as to liberal, Western societies.

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