more from Amartya Sen

Single Idea 21005

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / B. Contract Ethics / 9. Contractualism]

Full Idea

The force of a claim for a human right would indeed be seriously undermined if it were possible to show that it is unlikely to survive open public scrutiny.

Gist of Idea

A human right is not plausible if public scrutiny might reject it


Amartya Sen (The Idea of Justice [2009], 17 'Scrutiny')

Book Reference

Sen, Amartya: 'The Idea of Justice' [Penguin 2010], p.387

A Reaction

This is a public aspect of Scanlon's 'contractualist' approach to ethics. You can hardly disagree with the idea, though anti-racist legislation in a strongly racist society might be a good test case.

Related Idea

Idea 20992 Right and wrong concerns what other people cannot reasonably reject [Scanlon]