Inventing Human Rights

Inventing Human Rights

A History

Book - 2007
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How were human rights invented, and what is their turbulent history? Human rights is a concept that only came to the forefront during the eighteenth century. When the American Declaration of Independence declared "all men are created equal" and the French proclaimed the Declaration of the Rights of Man during their revolution, they were bringing a new guarantee into the world. But why then? How did such a revelation come to pass? In this extraordinary work of cultural and intellectual history, Professor Lynn Hunt grounds the creation of human rights in the changes that authors brought to literature, the rejection of torture as a means of finding out truth, and the spread of empathy. Hunt traces the amazing rise of rights, their momentous eclipse in the nineteenth century, and their culmination as a principle with the United Nations's proclamation in 1948. She finishes this work for our time with a diagnosis of the state of human rights today.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Co., c2007
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780393060959
Characteristics: 272 p. : ill. ; 22 cm


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Jan 25, 2017

The idea of the book wasn't fulfilled: on page 33 the author states that the theory being proposed is that reading physiologically altered people's brains, and these changed brains had different brains than the illiterates' brains and had different thoughts, and among these thoughts were what are conventionally called human rights. But she gives no experimental evidence to support her thesis; it should be relatively easy, for there are many illiterate people around, and many experimental psychologists. Well, the book as it is simply summarizes the ideas of human rights, their sources and the social pressures that emphasized some and for a long time ignored others. The summary is clearly written, and rather brief. Back matter include the USA's Declaration Of Independence, France's Declaration of the Rights Of Man, and the UN's Universal Declaration; numerous and rather lengthy notes (includes web addresses, but no dates when they were accessed), and an index.


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