The Architecture of Concepts
The Historical Formation of Human Rights
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Fordham University Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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This book has been made possible by the Leverhulme Foundation. With-out the award of a Major Research Fellowship (2007–2010), the tooling up required to carry out this project would have been impossible. I am grateful to the director of the Leverhulme and its awards committee for providing the grant that gave me the unencumbered time that any major ...
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This book has three distinct aims. First, it seeks to contribute to our un-derstanding of concepts. Such a contribution is doubtless fraught with dif-fi culty since even a cursory inspection of the very wide range of disciplines and even more disparate discursive locales in which the word concept is used leads to the conclusion that we do not seem to have a very clear sense of ...
1. On Concepts as Cultural Entities
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This book proposes a new way of understanding the historical formation of the concept of human rights. It has both a specifi c and a general target: in the case of the former it seeks to contribute to a history of political con-cepts, even if, as shall become clear, some of its ways of doing history may be eccentric, and in the latter it intends to test a methodology for analyzing ...
2. “. . . the Fundamental Rights and Liberties of Mankind . . .”: The Architecture of the Rights of Mankind
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It is, by now, almost a commonplace to state that “human rights” were in-vented in the eighteenth century.1 Although it is not immediately clear what 1. A recent book by James Griffi n begins: “Use of the term ‘human rights’ began at the end of the eighteenth century . . .” See On Human Rights (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 9. Although, as I shall comment on below, Griffi n does not make an elision ...
3. “There Are, Thank God, Natural, Inherent and Inseparable Rights as Men . . .”: The Architecture of American Rights
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The previous chapter has tracked the alterations in the conceptual archi-tecture of rights across the eighteenth century in English: In the early decades of the century, rights understood in the most general sense were conjugated through an early modern juristic conception of “right,” where that concept was hinged to a claim and tied to an ethico-theological de-...
4. “The Rights of Man Were but Imperfectly Understood at the Revolution”: The Architecture of Rights of Man
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Any historical account of the concept of human rights in the eighteenth century must negotiate the reputation of Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man, for, whatever else may be said or believed about this book, it is incontrovertible that Paine’s counterblast to Edmund Burke’s Refl ections on the Revolution in France has had a very energetic afterlife. Claims on its behalf—as to its no-...
5. The Futures of Human Rights
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Throughout this book I have been primarily engaged in an effort to think conceptuality in ways that might signifi cantly enhance our understanding how the world comes to seem to us as it does. No doubt this is an ambi-tious objective, and it would perhaps be hubristic to assume that it could deliver on its ambition all at once or in just one book. Throughout I have ...
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Page Count: 336
Illustrations: 30 b/w
Publication Year: 2013