From the list on the power and the limits of human rights.
Who am I?
I am an emeritus professor in the Department of Government, University of Essex. I taught political theory for many years with a speciality in the theory and practice of human rights. I'm the author of Edmund Burke and the Critique of Political Radicalism and Human Rights. I've published many articles in political theory, philosophy of social science, and human rights. I've directed academic programmes in political theory, The Enlightenment, and human rights. I've lectured on human rights in some 25 countries. I was a founder-member of my local branch of Amnesty International and served on the board of Amnesty’s British Section for five years, for two years as its Chairperson.
Michael's book list on the power and the limits of human rights
Why did Michael love this book?
Perhaps the best explanation and defence of the contemporary concept of human rights. Nickel addresses theoretical problems of justifying human rights, practical problems of implementing them, and dilemmas to which they give rise. It is written with unusual clarity. On the one hand, as a philosopher he does not take for granted that human rights make sense or that all uses of the idea deserve our support. On the other hand, he does not engage in debunking the idea that has been fashionable on both the political left and right. This is a most thoughtful and balanced account and is highly recommendable to those seeking a readable introduction to the philosophy of human rights.
I particularly liked his `lawnmower theory of human rights'. One of the challenges to human rights theory is why we should think of human rights as `universal’ – as the UN and international human rights law…