PhilipThe Human Rights Discourse between Liberty and Welfare

Given the fact that the prevalent political debates about the status and significance of liberty and welfare are almost polarised, this book defends both of them as essential to human dignity and well-being. Amartya Sen’s capability approach is the result of his constructive criticism of John Rawls’ political liberalism. Though Jacques Maritain is often regarded as the forerunner of Rawls, he has not yet been discussed in relation to Sen’s capability approach. Despite Maritain’s pioneering contributions to human rights discourse in the twentieth century, his personalism only insufficiently reflects and explains the demands of welfare rights. In view of this shared deficit in liberal traditions, this book argues that Sen’s human rights discourse, with its “goal rights system”, persuasively integrates both liberty and welfare rights. In addition, it merges both human rights and human development discourses, consequently laying a solid foundation for a rights-based approach to development.