Open Access (free)
Humanitarianism in a Post-Liberal World Order
Stephen Hopgood

and technology to mould and manipulate human behaviour without the use of brute physical violence. But liberals, true to the logic of their liberalism, baulk at overt and explicit killing and suppression of dissent. In other words, they have a problem with violence and a penchant for achieving their ends by other means (in the main, by using the law). It is characteristic of our era that we have tried to tell a story about human moral progress in the last two hundred years that drives a wedge between norms of legitimate care and norms of

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
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The Oxford Amnesty Lectures 2008
Editor: Wes Williams

This book addresses the relationship between human rights and religion. The original blurb for the Oxford Amnesty Lectures of 2008 invited speakers and audiences to ponder arguments for the God-given source of human rights. The book explains how biblical inspiration (both Old and New Testament) fuelled the anti-slavery protests and later the civil rights movement in the United States. It develops the particular relevance, for arguments over human rights within Islam, of the writings of the medieval philosopher Muhammad al-Ghazali who justified an openness towards constructive engagement with other traditions. The book shows where the philosophical worldviews that inform the religion of Islam and the rights discourse may be distant from each other. It illustrates the challenge of taking the real world of human practice seriously while avoiding simplistic arguments for pluralism or relativism. The book focuses on Simon Schama's evocation of the religious fervour which helped feed the long struggles for liberation among American slave communities. It discusses the understanding of human rights in the Roman Catholic tradition. The book also shows that the Christian experience of Pentecost and what it means to learn to speak as well as understand another's language, is a continuing resource God has given the church to sustain the ability to suffer as well as respond to those who suffer for the long haul. The book argues that moral progress consists in the universalisation of Western liberal democracy with its specific understanding of human rights.

A conceptual history 1200–1900

This collection explores how concepts of intellectual or learning disability evolved from a range of influences, gradually developing from earlier and decidedly distinct concepts, including ‘idiocy’ and ‘folly’, which were themselves generated by very specific social and intellectual environments. With essays extending across legal, educational, literary, religious, philosophical, and psychiatric histories, this collection maintains a rigorous distinction between historical and contemporary concepts in demonstrating how intellectual disability and related notions were products of the prevailing social, cultural, and intellectual environments in which they took form, and themselves performed important functions within these environments. Focusing on British and European material from the middle ages to the late nineteenth century, this collection asks ‘How and why did these concepts form?’ ‘How did they connect with one another?’ and ‘What historical circumstances contributed to building these connections?’ While the emphasis is on conceptual history or a history of ideas, these essays also address the consequences of these defining forces for the people who found themselves enclosed by the shifting definitional field.

Chantal Mouffe

’, the ‘just regime’, the only legitimate one. Indeed a great deal of liberal democratic theory aims at proving that it is the kind of regime that would be chosen by rational individuals in idealised conditions like the ‘veil of ignorance’ (Rawls) or the ‘ideal speech situation’ (Habermas). The dominant view, found in many different currents of political theory, asserts that moral progress requires the acceptance of the Western model of liberal democracy because it is the only possible shell for the implementation of human rights. It is interesting to note that such

in Religion and rights
Patchen Markell

I am not the first reader of Rainer Forst’s political philosophy to observe that there is a certain relentlessness and single-mindedness in his commitment to the practice of rational justification as the engine of social criticism and moral progress. 1 Seyla Benhabib, for example, has observed that Forst elevates the right to justification to the status of the ‘supreme principle of practical reason’. For Benhabib, this results in the ‘overmoralization’ of ethical and political life, overlooking both the dependence of the ‘universalistic moral point of view’ on

in Toleration, power and the right to justification
Casper Sylvest

exemplified by Stubbs and, more equivocally, by the partially Whig historians Seeley and Froude. In this view, the empire was both a constitutional structure and the symbol of a British mission; the 150 Liberal internationalism and the uses of history honour of the British state and something to be defended abroad.14 But not all Victorian historians shared this view. For many liberals, while the empire still radiated a sense of benefit to the world, the Whig notion of gradual, moral progress was cast in a universal language and thereby transposed to the international

in British liberal internationalism, 1880–1930
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Katherine Fierlbeck

If there is such a thing as ‘moral progress’, then the most obvious manifestation of it is the spirited diffusion of democratic ideals around the globe. But while the effervescence of democracy seems on the surface to be real enough, there is less agreement on whether it constitutes progress and, more testily, whether such progress as there is is necessarily moral. As the globalization of democracy becomes

in Globalizing democracy
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Saul Dubow

underwrite the Cape colonial administration’s view of itself as a force of social and moral progress and to distinguish between progressive Englishmen and ‘backward’ Boers or Africans. Nell’s analysis of the vogue for statistics in the modernising nineteenth-century Cape also offers intriguing parallels – and contrasts – with Posel’s discussion of the apartheid state’s use of statistics more than half a

in Science and society in southern Africa
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Norman Geras

a guiding practical ideal, one requiring that international law, just like law tout court, so far from standing above or apart from the morality of the community it governs, should be shaped by it. It is an ideal that ought to be congenial to everyone who believes in the possibility of moral progress. For progress as a concept embodies the aim, simply put, of creating a better world than the world we have, and international humanitarian law is designed to hold the primary subjects of international law – sovereign states – to 1 2 Alain Finkielkraut, Remembering

in Crimes against humanity
Casper Sylvest

, Including Polity (1845), Whewell had presented a systematic view of morality, inspired by the science of geology, which included moral axioms such as justice, purity, order, earnest­ness and moral purpose, which were, Whewell claimed, intuitively known even if they were not self-evidently true. This ‘scientific’ starting point was reconciled with Whewell’s Anglicanism through a theory of moral progress, according to which humankind’s obedience to religi­ously inspired social rules grew ever more sincere.83 Although Sidgwick conceded to Whewell and intuitionism that there

in British liberal internationalism, 1880–1930