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Hegel, Human Rights, and Particularism

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Richard Mullender


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Hegel's political philosophy gives prominence to the theme that human beings have a need for recognition of those qualities, characteristics, and attributes that make them distinctive. Hegel thus speaks to the question whether human rights law should recognize and accommodate the nuances of individual make-up. Likewise, he speaks to the question whether human rights law should be applied in ways that are sensitive to the cultural contexts in which it operates. But Hegel's political philosophy evaluates norms and practices within particular cultures by reference to the higher-order and universal criterion of abstract right. In light of this point and the inadequacies of political philosophy that privileges local norms and practices, a third approach to the protection of human rights is canvassed. This approach prioritizes neither universal nor local norms. Its aim is to ensure that both human rights and the cultures in which they are applied are taken seriously.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mullender R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Law and Society

Year: 2003

Volume: 30

Issue: 4

Pages: 554-574

ISSN (print): 0263-323X

ISSN (electronic): 1467-6478

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6478.2003.00270.x


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