Introduction • Is a just society possible? • What are human rights? • Common problems: • Racism • Sexism • Homophobia • Terrorism • Environmental issues
Universal Human Rights • Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by UN on Dec. 10, 1948, chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt
Human Rights in the “Age of Discovery”René Trujillo • Moral reflection occurred as Spanish conquered the indigenous peoples of the “New World” • Human rights and human dignity were major subjects of thought for the philosophers of the day • While the “Age of Discovery” was marked by brutality, it forced people to think about human rights issues
United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights • Attempts to define universal human rights and promote observance of them • Focuses on equality and fair treatment • Affirms rights to property, nationality, marriage and family, religion and thought, peaceable assembly, participation in government, social security, work, rest, healthy standard of living, education, cultural expression • Everyone is subject to limitations of law in order to respect rights and freedoms of others
Racism, Sexism, and Homophobia • Distinction between individual and institutional racism, sexism, and homophobia • The institutional form refers to injustice on the part of an official agency or various organizations
Ain’t I a Womanbell hooks • Author bell hooks is an African American woman and influential social critic • Writes her name in all lowercase to symbolize her skepticism about the importance of fame • Asserts that women have been socialized to think of racism solely in terms of racial hatred without regard to racial imperialism • Refutes the idea that all women in America have the same social status
Race MattersCornel West • “The fundamental crisis in black America is twofold: too much poverty and too little self-love.” • Redistributive measures have helped, but have not been sufficient for those with greatest need • The search for black identity is crucial in order to achieve racial equality
Homophobia as a Weapon of SexismSuzanne Pharr • Patriarchy is the ideology and sexism is the system that promotes homophobia • The weapons of sexism are economics, violence, and homophobia • Homophobia is a weapon of sexism because homosexuals threaten a male dominated society
Homophobia as a Weapon of SexismSuzanne Pharr • Those who are vulnerable to homophobia suffer losses in: • Employment • Family • Children • Heterosexual privilege and protection • Safety • Mental health • Community • Credibility
Globalization and Justice • Two forces of global events: • Disintegration of people due to aganda of self-determination • Integration through telecommunication and globalization which the world more interconnected and interdependent than ever • Is a global ethic of justice possible? • Should there be a one world system of government?
One World: Ethics of GlobalizationPeter Singer • National leaders must examine how their actions affect the rest of the world • Globalization has occurred through technology, the economy, and threat of terrorism • How should we respond ethically to the idea that we live in one world?
Terrorism and Morality • Terrorists often justify the use of violence for what they believe is a “just cause” • There are differing definitions of what is just
Why Terrorism Is Morally ProblematicBat-Ami Bar On • Terrorism produces psychologically and morally diminished people • Argues that terrorism is morally wrong because of its cruelty, not because its cause is unjust
Justice and the Land • Humans are a part of an ecologically interdependent system that places moral obligations on them with respect to the land and animals
The Land EthicAldo Leopold • The land and everything it sustains are a part of a community of interdependent parts that must cooperate • The “land ethic” sees man as a plain member and citizen of this community • Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land
The Land EthicAldo Leopold • Land as an energy circuit • Land is not merely soil • Native plants and animals kept the energy circuit open; others may or may not • Man-made changes are of a different order than evolutionary changes and have greater effects than are intended or foreseen
Animal Rights • Do humans have an obligation or duty to animals? Why? • Is it only wrong to harm animals when it is against the interest of humans? • Do animals have any intrinsic or inherent rights?
The Case for Animal RightsTom Regan • Goals of Animal Rights movement • Total abolition of the use of animals in science • Total dissolution of commercial animal agriculture • Total elimination of commercial and sport hunting and trapping
The Case for Animal RightsTom Regan • The “rights view” – denies the moral tolerability of any and all forms of racial, sexual, or social discrimination and denies that we can justify good results by evil means that violate individual rights • The rights view should not be limited to humans • Animals have inherent value because they are also “experiencing subjects of a life”