Is Miller's Minimalist Approach to Human Rights Obligations Coherent?

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Abstract:

This paper asks whether David Miller's minimalist theory of human rights is coherent with his claim that obligations of global justice involve obligations to provide people with a minimally decent life. I argue that there is a justice gap in Miller's theory: the structure of his distinction between basic and societal needs is such that people will be left below the level of minimal decency even when obligations of justice are met. Miller can either bite this bullet or look for alternative sources of obligations of justice. I take up the second option by arguing that there can be obligations of global justice to build institutions that enable societies to generate income and wealth.

Keywords: BASIC NEEDS; GLOBAL JUSTICE; HUMAN RIGHTS; MILLER; RESPONSIBILITY; RISSE

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/th.2011.5812904

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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