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utilitarian can be understood as an expression of an underlying ontology. (For example, Dworkin in Taking Rights Seriously (1977) argues for the integrity of legislation and principle.) Or the utilitarian approach can assume that it grasps, not a universal ontology of the human, but the principles of modern rational social progress. Within broadly liberal institutions, in practice at least, the two approaches often work in tandem. The language of universal human rights imagines it is talking to and for all the world, calling on both the persistence

in Human rights and the borders of suffering
Dominant approaches

Rights (1948) gives some indication of this practical complementarity between contractarian and utilitarian approaches to rights. The language of the Universal Declaration is contractarian. The more frequent justification within UN and national policy-making bodies for upholding the rights standards set out in the Universal Declaration, however, is that most states have signed it, this signatory process being part of the essential procedures for establishing reasonable parameters of international order. The fund of imagery is contractarian while the language of

in Human rights and the borders of suffering