JSI Series: Historical normativity and the basis of rights

25 October 2012

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This presentation aims to outline a historical concept of rights. By this, Professor Patton means one that does not depend on any transcendent conception of the moral basis of rights or of the human nature in which they are supposedly grounded. He argues that the only plausible basis for rights lies in the public political culture, history and institutions of existing societies. However, if we view rights in this way, there remains the problem of explaining how rights can maintain their normative force and critical function in relation to existing institutions and practices. Patton argues that John Rawls's political liberalism can help resolve this problem and support a historical and critical conception of rights. Political liberalism draws a sharp distinction between moral, legal and political rights, while insisting that political normativity ultimately rests on the considered judgments of a people and the possibility of reasonable consensus among them. He argues that Rawls is committed to the historical character of such a consensus and therefore of the rights associated with a particular political conception of justice.

About the speaker

Paul Patton is Professor of Philosophy at The University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He is the author of Deleuze and the Political (Routledge, 2000) and Deleuzian Concepts: Philosophy, Colonization, Politics (Stanford, 2010). He is editor of Deleuze: A Critical Reader (Blackwell 1996), (with Duncan Ivison and Will Sanders) Political Theory and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Cambridge, 2000), (with John Protevi) of Between Deleuze and Derrida, (Continuum, 2003) and (with Simone Bignall) Deleuze and the Postcolonial (Edinburgh 2010). He has translated work by Deleuze, Foucault, Nancy and Baudrillard. His recent publications deal with aspects of French poststructuralism and a variety of topics in contemporary political philosophy.

Lawyers/barristers: attendance at this seminar is equal to 2 MCLE/CPD units.

This event is hosted by The Julius Stone Institute of Jurisprudence

Time: 6-8pm

Location: Common Room, Level 4, Sydney Law School, Building F10, Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney

Cost: Free, however registration is essential

Contact: PLaCE Coordinator

Phone: 02 9351 0429

Email: 360b361d311e022f164511360f2b3b0e3a05024b477c3919