Brandeis University, Philosophy Department
Spring 2008
Brandeis University Web Stite

Philosophy 19A

Legal Studies, Global Studies
Peace & Conflict Studies

Professor Andreas Teuber
Andreas Teuber


Course Description

What are human rights and what reasons are there for thinking that persons have rights? Are some rights more basic than others and what compelling interests, if any, justify their violation?

The course will look closely at international human rights policies and the moral and political issues to which they give rise as they are embedded in actual, concrete cases. Opening sections of the course will be devoted to an examination of the Nuremberg Trials, the rights of civilians and non-combatants in time of war at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, during the fire-bombing of Dresden and at My Lai during the Vietnam War.

Discussion will include the role considerations of human rights ought to play in the foreign policy of any country as well as an examination of the role such considerations actually have played - most recently in Darfur and Sudan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Rwanda, Chechnya and Somalia as well as in China and Tibet, Haiti, Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Columbia, Venzuela, Peru, Thailand, Burma, Zimbabwe, East Timor, West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Kenya, Iran, Pakistan, North Korea, The Netherlands, The United States, and South Africa.

Discussion will also include: territorial integrity and the ethics of humanitarian intervention, state sovereignty and human rights violations, U. S. intervention in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq, United States foreign policy on human rights, international terrorism and human rights, the morality of torture, the Geneva Convention and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of prisoners in the war against terrorism, the role of international peacekeeping forces, the politics and ethics of torture, the responsibilities of individuals and states to alleviate world hunger and famine, and the moral and political issues surrounding the plight of refugees and homeless persons, and the case to be made for international war crime tribunals v. truth and reconciliation commissions..

The course meets on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 12:10 PM to 1:00 PM in OLIN SANG 101 (see Campus Map).

In addition, you will have the option of meeting in smaller discussion sections each week. The section times will be posted. Sections will not be required, but will be available for any- and everyone who wishes to seize the opportunity to explore in greater depth some of the matters to which we shall put our minds in this course.

A separate page for HANDOUTS AND LECTURE has also been created that you may find useful during the course of the semester. The HANDOUTS pahe also has a number of useful links to Human Rights Resources and Organizations throughout the world.

So, too, on the HANDOUTS page you will find links to various PHILOSOPHY RESOURCES on internet as well as some discussion about THE VALUE OF PHILOSOPHY in the 21st century.

The COURSE REQUIREMENTS are also posted.

Also on the HANDOUTS page are GUIDES TO READING AND WRITING PHILOSOPHY as well as a section with links to PHILOSOPHY TEXTS ONLINE where there is a link to a page with links to CLASSICS OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY that you may discover to be of some use.

The Reading for the course, broken down day by day, will be posted online on four different occasions with links to author biographies where appropriate as well as human rights texts that are available on the Web and through the Brandeis Library System electronically.

Syllabus Handouts and Lecture Notes
Section Times Class Discussion

Contact Info

The course is taught by ANDREAS TEUBER. You may wish to take a look at the SHORT BIOGRAPHY and the CV which are online to glean some idea of who the instructor is. During the Spring Semester you can reach me as follows:

Office hours: Wednesdays and Thursdays 1:10-2:00 PM
and by appointment. Office Phone: 1-781-736-2789
Email: <>

Feel free to drop in for any reason any time during my office hours, but if these hours are inconvenient, I can arrange to meet by appointment. Or you can email me. I read my email several times each day and usually respond right away. The best way, too, to set up an appointment to meet is to set up something through email first.



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Last Modified: 01/02/08
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