Making Sense of Universal Human Rights

The first and sixth principles of Unitarian Universalism acknowledge “the inherent worth and dignity of every person” and support “the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.”  These principles support individuals regardless of nationality or location.  Yet we often respond differently to needs of others depending upon their citizenship, or residence inside or outside of the United States.  How do we balance our concern for needs and rights individuals in the US and around the world?  When does a border justify disparate treatment of individuals?  Prof. William Talbott, author of two books on universal human rights, will lead a discussion of universal human rights in the practical context of national citizenship and our instincts to help those in our own community?

Bill Talbott is Professor of Philosophy and the Joff Hanauer Honors Professor in Western Civilization at the University of Washington.  He is the author of two books in the philosophy of human rights, Which Rights Should Be Universal? (2005) and Human Rights and Human Well-Being (2010); and one book in epistemology, The Reliability of the Cognitive Mechanism (1990; reissued 2015).   The Korean translation of Which Rights Should Be Universal? was named 2011 Human Rights Book of the Year by the Korea Human Rights Foundation.