Rawls, Human Rights, and Cultural Pluralism

A Critique

in Theoria

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.


A Journal of Social and Political Theory

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