The Challenge of Ethical-Cultural Pluralism to the Universality of Human Rights

  • FEDERICO ARCOS RAMÍREZ University of Almería
Keywords: human rights, parochial objection, relativism, cultural ethical pluralism, individualism, ethical objectiv-ism


One of the main criticisms directed against the legitimacy of internationally recognized human rights is that they are ethnocentric or parochial. The examination of this objection leads to the conclusion that it is not relativism but cultural-ethical pluralism the main challenge to the universal validity of human rights. Ethical pluralism queries that the justification of human rights that has prevailed since the approval of the UDHR has arbitrarily given, under a deceptive appearance of universality, a weight far superior to individualistic values than to collectivistic. After examining some of the main attempts to overcome this challenge (the constructive theory of human rights and justificatory minimalism), the one based on the defense of a kind of ethical individualism compatible with a moderate ethical objectivism is defended as a preferable alternative.