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Cosmopolitanism and Human Rights by Sharon Anderson-Gold


Cosmopolitanism and Human Rights by Sharon Anderson-Gold

If human rights express the equal claim of every person to the recognition and protection of their vital interests, they necessarily assert universal obligations of justice that cross borders. In this book, Sharon Anderson-Gold asks whether there is a normative consensus on human rights and articulates the role of a cosmopolitan or global community in shaping the theory and practice of international politics. She considers several important works in the field of universal human rights and discusses whether a cosmopolitan system of law is a necessary condition for the stable association of nation states. Cosmopolitanism and Human Rights presents an ethical foundation for the idea of human development and attempts to demonstrate the normative character of universal human rights. It claims that Kant's idea of a federation of nations based upon principles of international right remains highly relevant to contemporary aspirations for global justice, and concludes by suggesting that a 'cosmopolitan community' is the locus of a global democratic order and is the necessary framework for the maintenance of human rights.


This book has many merits. Anderson-Gold does an excellent job of combining theoretical insights with an empirical account of the world. Students will especially appreciate Anderson-Gold''s detailed account of the development of the global human rights regime and the use of historical examples to illustrate her theoretical points. Kantians will appreciate the interpretation that she provides of Kant''s cosmopolitan credentials. And while many of her arguments about the extent to which the contemporary practice of international politics is shaped by a cosmopolitan condition are likely to prove contentious, she nevertheless offers an image of international politics that many will find attractive.

About the Author

Sharon Anderson-Gold is associate professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York. She has written extensively on Kantian philosophy and human rights and is the author of Unnecessary Evil: History and Moral Progress in the Philosophy of Immanuel Kant (2000).

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Book Info

Publication date

24th July 2001


Sharon Anderson-Gold

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University of Wales Press


160 pages


Social & political philosophy
Human rights



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