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Human Rights, Care Ethics and Situated Universal Norms



Abstract:  As interest in the relationship between geography and ethics grows, it becomes important to examine how different approaches to ethical philosophy may fit with geographic scholarship. To that end, this article focuses on a particular approach to ethical responsibility—international human rights law—and asks how that approach can be put into conversation with discussions in geography about morality, distance and care. It explores three contributions of such a conversation: first, it examines how the relational ontology of care ethics provides a new perspective on the moral value of human rights, so that the relationships and context in question drive the relative value of rights. Second, the article discusses contributions that human rights can bring to questions of caring across distance. Finally, it unpacks the duties that accompany human rights and questions the scope of duty that attaches to the norm of equality.

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