Cultural Integrity and Liberty Rights[1]


William Sweet,

St Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, NS, B2G 2W5 CANADA



In the last half century, the concept of human rights, and the discourse that has been developed out of it, have obviously had important roles, not only in political philosophy, but in virtually all matters involving political and social life. Given the frequent appeals for the respect of rights made by ethnic and cultural minorities and disadvantaged groups throughout the world--by those who agitated for democratic institutions in South Africa, in the countries of the former Soviet bloc, and throughout Asia (e.g., in mainland China, in Myanmar, and in Vietnam), and given the number of international agreements and charters spelling out the rights and principles of conduct that must be respected within nation states, the importance and the universality of human rights might seem to be beyond dispute.

Yet the notion of universal rights has long been the object of criticism. Within the western philosophical tradition, authors as diverse as Karl Marx, Edmund Burke, and Jeremy Bentham,[2] have challenged the claim that there are universal human rights. Moreover, the awareness of different cultures and different cultural practices has long ago raised the question of whether there are any transcultural norms or standards. And more recently, a number of critics have gone further, and have called the notion of the universality of human rights into question for other reasons still. The insistence on human rights, they say, is used primarily as a political tool by western nations in obtaining concessions from developing countries. Using this discourse as a substantive moral standard is also illegitimate because it rests on a number of concepts that are peculiar to the west, reflect questionable assumptions, and have no basis--and hence no proper moral weight--in many parts of the world[3]. And, finally, it is argued that the introduction of the discourse of human rights into non-occidental cultures can lead (or has already led) to a breakdown in the ‘cultural identity’ and autonomy of those cultures.

Is it useful, then, to continue to employ concepts like ‘human rights,’ and to insist that such rights have a universal character? Is the call for ‘human rights’ consistent with the respect of cultures--particularly in those cultures where the term ‘rights’ does not have a place? Is the notion of ‘human rights’ comparable with that of a collective, social good? Is it possible to prove that there are such rights--such as the rights to freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, freedom of association, and so on--and, if so, can such a proof work in different cultures?



I want to address these questions and concerns by approaching the issue of the nature, source, and limits of human rights in an indirect way and by using an analogy. (Though the discussion may seem at times a bit removed from the central topic, it will give us the background for some important distinctions to be made later.) Specifically, I want to start with an analysis of two familiar concepts, and then extend the results of this analysis to two related terms that bear on the idea of culture. This will enable me to draw some conclusions, not only about the relation of the idea of culture to human rights, but also about the nature of these rights, and whether one can have any reason to believe that there are universal human rights.

The first concept I want to discuss is that of ‘identity,’ in the sense of ‘personal identity.’ ‘Personal identity’ is a notoriously vague notion--for to speak of the identity of a person may be to refer to what that person ‘is’ at some particular moment or ‘slice of time,’ or it may refer to that person over a period of time. It is also a philosophically very puzzling notion; recall the example of 'The Ship of Theseus,' and the question of whether an object, all of whose parts have been gradually replaced over time, can still properly be called the same object. Or again, can we speak of people remaining ‘the same’ people, despite growing older, learning and changing their beliefs and values, maturing and, of course, gradually forgetting the past or becoming senile? This is not just a metaphysical problem, but a legal, an ethical, and a political problem.

Still, I think that most of us would agree that personal identity involves continuity and stability of consciousness over time and coherence in one’s ideas and beliefs. The person who is pulled left and right by her desires and whims, without any systematic way of organizing or addressing these desires and whims, and without having a consistent will at all, is not much of a person and, so, has no obvious identity. (Events that ‘interrupt’ or radically change our consciousness, ‘end’ our identity. Physical death interrupts both physical and conscious continuity; brain injury or senility do as well.) To have personal identity, then, requires having a will and a continuous and coherent history--a past, and the promise or expectation of a future (e.g., expressed through goals and aspirations)--and perhaps the possibility of articulating a personal narrative. While such an account is not without its problems, it seems to be where many people’s intuitions on the matter lie.

Of course, personal identity is more than this; it is not just continuity, coherence, and stability. Most of us would insist that it requires a sameness. We often think of personal identity as involving at least a genetic sameness (e.g., for me to be the same person as I was 20 years ago, I would have to have the same DNA) and having at least some of the ‘same’ or similar sense of self, memories, tastes, inclinations, values, and so on. (In fact, if my values, tastes, inclinations, and memories were all significantly different, someone who knew me might reasonably say "He is not the same person I knew.")

Now, when we speak of personal identity, we often want to identify what it is that distinguishes one person from another. But to do this, we must also acknowledge that they have a good deal in common, and that that person has many of the same characteristics that other persons have. Identity involves not just what makes one distinct, but what makes one like others--of the same kind or species.

But we should also note what personal identity does not imply.

When we talk about someone’s ‘identity,’ we are not necessarily talking about something that that person has any control over; I may make my ideas, beliefs, values, and so on, more coherent or consistent, but in doing so I don’t obviously make myself a different kind of being than I was before. So the characteristics of being an agent and of being free are not relevant to the issue of identity. (They may, of course, bear on the issue of what kind of being I am--e.g., whether I am a person.)

Further, when we speak of ‘identity,’ it does not automatically follow that it is a value; it just says that something is as it was in the past. Beings who have ‘personal identity’ have a value,  but it is as a person that we are valuable, not just in being the same or similar to what we were in the past.

To sum up, when we speak of personal identity, we have in mind such things as:

1.     the stability of consciousness and the coherence of one’s ideas and beliefs,

2.     the presence of a systematic way of organizing or addressing one’s desires and wishes--i.e., one’s will

3.     having a history--a past, and the promise or expectation of a future

4.     a sameness that is more than a continuity

But, to have an identity is not something that that being need have any control over. One need not even be free, and being the same as one was before is not, in itself, valuable.



The second concept that I want to discuss is that of (personal) integrity. Now, while personal identity and integrity are clearly distinct, there is no contradiction between them.

To begin with, integrity suggests a ‘wholeness’ and consistency, and is opposed to incoherence and inconsistency. When we speak of someone as having integrity, we speak of that person’s basic beliefs and values, recognize that these beliefs and values form a ‘whole,’ and acknowledge that he acts in a way is consistent or coherent with those beliefs and values, and does so in a way that others can count on. Integrity is a disposition--i.e., a way of looking at and approaching the world, and a habitual intention to act in a certain way. Integrity is, of course, also a moral quality, and so it not only describes the characteristic of ‘wholeness’ and consistency, but implies a value. (And because integrity is a moral notion, it is not purely subjective, and depends on the existence of a moral framework that has its origin outside of that person. One can be ‘called’ to act in a way that exhibits integrity.) The term implies, as well, awareness of oneself as a being that can develop such a disposition, and an explicit wish to bring his beliefs and values and so on, into coherence or wholeness.

But while a person of integrity holds to certain basic beliefs and values, it doesn’t mean that she or he always holds all the same beliefs and values.

For example, we are often confronted with novelty--things that are new or are significantly different from our past experience. A person of integrity responds to novel situations in a way that is generally consistent with the past; at the very least, he seeks to act to bring the present novel situation into coherence with his past experience. But it is clear that, in doing so, how the person of integrity should act is not completely determined in advance. To act in a way consistent with one’s past is not just a matter of repetition of past actions or acting out of rote habit. Nor could it be. One is often not able to deal with these novel situations entirely on one’s own terms; life rarely permits us to control our situation entirely. But even if we could, we should not seek to respond just on our own terms, for to do so is to deny the reality and significance of the situation.

So the mere fact that something happens that is new or different or unforeseen does not mean that it will threaten our integrity. Rather new experience calls us out of ourselves to act with integrity.(Of course, where something would undermine all or most of our values, then there might be a threat to integrity, but this is something that cannot be determined a priori.)

And so, the quality of integrity is not only consistent with, but entails, that a person should act in a way that shows an openness and a willingness to learn. Even if one thinks one has the truth, it does not follow that one has the whole truth and nothing except the truth. Integrity requires humility. And realism reminds us that sometimes we have to heal with rather uncomfortable facts--and so we cannot be blind to them, or ignore them,

Consequently, integrity requires not just being true to one’s past principles, beliefs, and values, but also being true to the reality of the situation. A person who blindly ignores the features of the situation he finds himself in does not act with integrity. But, likely, no one is entirely without integrity; some degree of integrity seems to be a property of almost all human beings in the maturity of their faculties.

Finally, because integrity is a disposition, it logically requires freedom. One must [logically] be free in order to act with integrity. (As noted above, identity, by itself, does not require freedom.) The exercise of this freedom, however, must be consistent with ‘who’ one is--with one’s basic principles and values--and with the reality of the situations one is confronted with.

In other words, for people to have integrity, they must be free to seek, pursue, and preserve wholeness in their beliefs. And although one’s freedom is not absolute (because it must be consistent with who or what one is), one must [again, logically] be free enough so that the development of individual responsibility and the growth of moral character are possible. You cannot be restricted or treated as a child and still have integrity. If you don’t have freedom, then integrity is impossible.

In short, for integrity, one needs freedom or rights--rights of life, of various kinds of liberty, of security; rights to be free from arbitrary discrimination, arrest, interference[4]; rights to be recognized as a person. There is, of course, a certain logical priority in these rights--you cannot have a right to security if you do not already have a right to life--but this does not mean that rights are discrete and separable from one another, and serially ordered. Rights come in ‘packages’; they are largely inseparable from one another (as seen above, in discussing rights to security). Moreover, it is not obvious or required that everyone must have exactly the same ‘package’ of rights in order to act with integrity. And finally, unlike identity as such, integrity is a value, and so one can appeal to other values in order to preserve or promote it.

I would add that it is entirely beside the point to ask who or what 'confers' these rights or freedoms; the reference to rights here is not a matter of them having been ascribed by the state or having been seen as inherent in or inferred from the dignity of the human person. The issue is, rather, a logical one. To have integrity, and to be a person of integrity, one must be free and have certain civil and political freedoms or rights. This is not to say that integrity is the foundation of human rights, though I will argue in a moment that it can serve as a basis of an argument for them.

In short, a person who acts with integrity is acting in a way that shows


1.     a ‘wholeness’ or consistency in his or her beliefs and values,

2.     awareness of oneself as a self or as a moral agent, and consciously seeking to make her or his beliefs and values consistent

3.     a disposition--i.e., a way of looking at and approaching the world, and a habitual intention to act so that one will respond to novel situations in a way that is consistent with the past, and that attempts to bring one’s beliefs and values, and so on, into coherence or wholeness.

4.     a recognition that one is often not able to deal these novel situations entirely on one’s own terms

5.     that, while consistent, how one should act in a way is not completely determined in advance.

6.     that one requires freedom, but a freedom that must nevertheless be consistent with ‘who’ one is, and

7.     that one must, therefore, have a set of human rights




At this point, I want to extend these reflections on identity and integrity to the cultural sphere. I do not want to go into a lengthy discussion of ‘culture’ here; for simplicity of presentation, let me just offer the following description of how I understand ‘culture.’

The word ‘culture,’ in a broad sense, refers to "the whole way of life, material, intellectual, and spiritual, of a given society"[5]--and it is important to see this not as simply what exists in a society at a particular moment, but as something dynamic and growing. (This reflects the etymological relation of the term to the Latin word cultura--the practice of cultivating land.) Moreover, when speaking of culture, we need to refer to more than artistic and intellectual work. A discussion of the ‘whole way of life’ of a society must mention its customs, its mores and moral principles, its laws, its manner of educating its citizens, and its understanding of the nature of the spiritual life. Culture, then, exists in consciousnesses; it is present in institutions, practices, and so on, so far as they reflect consciousnesses. And because ‘cultura’ is a practice--usually a practice involving some ‘care’--we can say that to engage in cultural activities takes time, takes imaginativeness, takes conscious knowledge and action, takes seeing how things work together, and takes freedom.

Now the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 (UNDHR) and, I would dare to say, all cultures themselves agree on at least one thing, and that is the importance of human flourishing--and perhaps even "the free and full development of the human personality"[6] In fact, even many of the critics of the discourse of human rights have objected to it because it is inconsistent with the ‘cultural identity’ and the flourishing of at least some societies.

When people speak of ‘cultural identity,’ I take this to be closely analogous to ‘personal identity.’

By ‘cultural identity,’ then, I mean the ‘unity’ of ideas and beliefs, present in institutions and practices, that constitute a system and a coherent ‘way of life,’ that reflects the ‘mind,’ goals and aspirations of a group of persons, but also its history, experience and environment. This will have not only a continuity with the past and the prospect of a future, but a ‘sameness’ over time, and this ‘sameness’ serves to distinguish that one group from other groups. But cultural identity is not just ‘cultural difference’ or what is unique to such a group; it unifies that group and it also includes what may be shared with others (e.g., our humanity).

Cultural identity is a fact--it is the description of  a ‘way of life.’ But although that way of life 'unites,’ enables life to be lived, and provides a basis for individual identity, this says nothing positive or negative about that way of life as a whole.

Does a culture have value? I would say that, so far as it reflects the consciousness and will of those who constitute it, and so far as it permits human flourishing--the growth and development of those who are members of it, it does. But if that ‘culture’ is static and nothing more than the ‘status quo’ for many or for all, then it isn’t obvious that it has value. So in answer to the question of whether a culture should be preserved just because it exists, the answer is, I think, no. Cultures should be preserved presumably because they permit human flourishing or because they reflect or contain the kind of values referred to above. But they need not be preserved just because they exist--and certainly not preserved at all costs.

All existing cultures that we know of today have had contact with other cultures, and rarely has it been on equal terms. What at least one culture is confronted with, when it has contact with another culture, is novelty. And it is rare that any culture can control this experience of novelty. For example, novelty can be the result of the invasion of one nation (with its own culture) by another, or the result of other kinds of force--although the power of this novelty is also largely due to the fact that there are elements within the ‘recipient’ culture that, in some way or another, embrace it or hope to use it to further their own personal ends. (At best, a culture can attempt to control the way in which it deals with the novelty. But this presupposes that cultural leaders know exactly what their culture is and involves, and what it needs or can use in order to grow and flourish.)

Novelty has often been seen as a problem or threat. It may raise questions about the status quo, about what people can have or do, it may suggest alternatives to what exists and, in a more thorough way, it may even suggest changes in how to understand oneself and about which questions one might ask. Novelty, in short, disturbs what is customary and, therefore, it can disrupt or threaten a culture. It challenges the ‘sameness’ that is a feature of cultural identity.

Thus, the spread of capitalism and secularism has consistently influenced and challenged values and practices in the non-western world, but also in various places in North America (e.g., in non-urban areas, and areas with strong religious traditions)--and it continues to do so. But there are all manner of other influences that have influenced these various cultures as well.

What we find in many cultures today, then, is the presence of one set of ideas--cultural identity--confronted with another set of ideas--those that are novel or new. And while the traditional ideas that exist--and in part define a culture--have a value so far as they provide a framework in which life can be led, and in which flourishing is possible, a culture cannot ignore the new ideas altogether, for, as I have suggested, the preservation of cultural sameness or identity itself is not obviously a value.

So the question is, how should we respond to novelty?

Here, I want to offer a solution and propose that, in the place of ‘cultural identity,’ we employ a concept that I call ‘cultural integrity.’




When I discussed the notion of ‘personal integrity’ above, I noted that integrity does not mean that one always holds all the same views. It suggests that there is a ‘wholeness’ or consistency in the subject’s beliefs and values as well as an awareness of oneself as a self. But it also implies that that subject has a disposition--i.e., a way of looking at and approaching the world, and a habitual intention to act in a way that shows one’s effort to bring these beliefs and values directly to bear on future experience. Thus, when persons of integrity encounter novelty, they recognize that they are often not able to deal with these novel situations entirely on their own terms, and so they will try to find a way of responding to these situations that is generally consistent with the past, but that also respects the reality of the new situation. Persons of integrity should act in a way that is consistent with their past, but this is not a way that is completely determined in advance.

We can, I would argue, extend the notion of integrity to cultures. Admittedly, in certain respects, the analogy between ‘cultural integrity’ and ‘personal integrity’ is not exact. Still, there are many important parallels. For example, given that cultures have an identity that reflects a way of life, one can find within them basic principles or values or beliefs that are more or less coherent with one another and exhibit a ‘wholeness’ and consistency.

Now, since ‘integrity’ indicates a disposition, when we speak of ‘cultural integrity,’ I am claiming that that culture (or its agents and leaders) have a disposition to act. And to have integrity, that culture (or its agents and leaders) must act in a way that is consistent with (though it is not simply dictated by) its cultural identity and its dominant ideas. When a culture that exhibits cultural integrity encounters novel situations, it must respond--and it must respond in a way that takes account of that novelty seriously.

In taking account of this novelty, a culture having integrity will seek coherence with this novelty--and so it must respond with creativity. Obviously, this response will often lead to some change in the culture--but change is a property of anything that lives and grows

So, if we examine a culture that exhibits integrity, we will find that that culture does not always hold all the same views. Just as we can speak of an individual’s integrity or wholeness even as the individual changes (i.e., matures), so we can speak of a culture having a similar integrity even as it changes. Cultural integrity involves being conscious of the importance of, and being true to, one’s cultural identity, but also being capable of going beyond it. And it is so far as a culture exhibits not only the possibility of a coherent life in common, but a life with integrity, that we can speak that culture as having a value and as deserving to be preserved.




Now, what is necessary for a culture to exhibit or possess cultural integrity?

First, I would argue that, just as personal integrity requires freedom and rights, so cultural integrity also requires freedom and rights. But freedom and rights must exist at both the ‘macro’ and the ‘micro’ levels in a culture. To begin with, the culture as a whole must be free--i.e., that cultural community must have the freedom to respond to novelty with integrity and in a way consistent with its identity. (I would, of course, distinguish this from the ‘freedom’ of state authorities to do whatever they see fit to guarantee or preserve the existing political institutions, and at all costs.) Moreover, since cultures are ‘ways of living’ for those within them, there must also be freedoms and rights for individuals within those cultures, that allow them to act with integrity. For cultural integrity as a whole to be possible, there must be a freedom for individuals to participate in the construction of their culture.[7] This implies, in turn, a robust theory of rights‑‑that is, ‘freedoms from’ certain restrictions, but also positive ‘freedoms to’ the means to engage in "participative construction" in a meaningful way.

In short, human rights serve as necessary preconditions for the existence of freedom and for cultural integrity. And, in this sense, cultural integrity serves as a foundation and justification of human rights. Thus, those who recognize the value of cultural integrity, and who are concerned about preserving a culture that exhibits integrity, must be committed to a discourse of human rights.

Second, cultural integrity requires openness to dialogue and exchange. This does not mean that one needs to ‘suspend’ or ‘bracket’ one’s own beliefs and values, but it does require at least a willingness to listen to other beliefs. It also requires one to be humble, in the sense that one must acknowledge that one does not know the whole truth, and that there is the possibility of learning something about oneself through the dialogue and exchange. (e.g., We see this feature in religious movements such as ecumenism and in inter-faith dialogue). Action and interaction with other cultures are not necessarily threats to one’s ‘cultural integrity.’ They may contribute to it. In fact, the categorical or complete refusal to enter into dialogue or exchange is quite inconsistent with acting with integrity.

This model of cultural integrity does not mean, of course, that a culture has the luxury of deciding for itself how and when to engage in dialogue and exchange. History is full of examples where one sees the action and influence of very powerful ‘external’ cultural forces--e.g., Christianity, Islam, capitalism, and secularism--leading to radical changes in cultures and societies. But what is interesting, is that although such forces have led to significant changes in those cultures and societies that they have come into contact with--in the Americas, central and southern Africa, Australia, and Asia--it is not obvious that they have violated the cultural integrity of those cultures. For, as argued above, change is quite consistent with cultural integrity, and it is worth noting that these forces have rarely, if ever, led to the homogeneity of, or the disappearance of substantial diversity among, cultures.

What we should be concerned about, is not the existence or occurrence of change, but rather the mechanisms by which that change is brought about. The key is that both cultural communities and individuals must be free to seek, pursue, and preserve a wholeness and consistency in their beliefs and values. And although this freedom is not absolute (because it must be consistent with who or what one is), individuals and collectivities must [again, logically] be free enough so that the development of responsibility and integrity is possible. Just as an individual cannot be limited, or treated, as a child and still have integrity, neither can a cultural community. If freedom does not exist, then integrity is impossible.

So, again, we are led to the notion of human rights




The notion of cultural integrity, then, entails the notion of human rights.

Now, some have argued that concepts such as ‘human rights’ are ‘alien’ to countries outside of what we call ‘the west,’ and that, because they are not part of the traditions of these countries and entail different social relations, they therefore have no place in these countries.

But the fact that something is new or different or not explicit in tradition--that it may destabilize the status quo and is the occasion of evolution in cultural identity--does not entail that it is wrong or threatens cultural integrity. Moreover, it is clear that the discourse of human rights has been embraced by those groups and individuals in non western countries who have been oppressed, and that this discourse is an appropriate means of expressing what they need in order to pursue ‘integrity.’ Nor is this just a tendency characteristic of oppressed groups. In Japan, for example, the word for the English notion of ‘liberty’ is ‘ji-yu’; it is a combination of two originally Chinese characters that has, as some scholars point out, "never occupied a central position in traditional literature" and that has a slightly negative connotation. What is interesting is that, in contemporary conversation in Japan, when the word ‘ji-yu’ is used, the ‘traditional’ negative connotations associated with the word have diminished, and the more positive, ‘western’ notion of liberty is meant. Thus, Japanese speak of ‘ji-yu’ of speech and association as constitutional rights.

Furthermore, it has been argued that such concepts as ‘human rights’ are not inherently opposed to the culture of those societies in which they have not had an obvious place. For in the articulation of the UN Declaration of Rights itself, we can count among those who drafted it, Americans (including former U.S. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt), Canadians, French, but also the Lebanese scholar Charles Malik, and the Chinese diplomat and scholar, P.C. Chang.)

Consequently, even if the term or the concept of human rights is alien to certain cultures, and even if they are part of a ‘novelty’ and a reality that non-western cultures have been confronted with, it is not obvious that the term threatens the cultural integrity of a particular group. From what I have suggested, they may even be necessary or required for that group to flourish.

It does not follow, of course, that every culture must have exactly the same ‘package’ of rights in order to act with integrity, any more than every individual must have the same package of rights. Even if rights are seen as fundamental to the growth and development of a culture with integrity, there is room for a good deal of cultural diversity and difference. Not only should there be such room but (at the very least, for contingent reasons) there inevitably will be such room. Nevertheless, certain basic rights to life and liberty and security, and a number of corollaries or implications of those rights, are necessary for individuals and cultures to flourish and thrive.

And this is, after all and as noted above, something on which cultures and recent human rights declarations agree--that human flourishing is important.




To conclude, let me briefly summarize some of the advantages of the preceding  approach to human rights.

In the contemporary world, there is an increasingly strong interest in the preservation of local culture and--at the same time--a powerful appeal, by those who are oppressed, to a discourse of universal human rights. I have suggested that, while cultural identity is important, the value of a culture is to be found not so much in its identity as in its integrity. The model of cultural integrity is one that claims that, for a culture to develop and grow, and for human flourishing to be promoted, that culture must be open to influence from the outside. But it should be open in a way where it seeks to achieve a unity or consistency between the past and what this new influence offers it.

Thus, first, I claim that such an approach to culture provides a means of avoiding or regulating cultural conflict and, second, I argue that this approach allows for cultural difference. For cultural integrity to be possible, however, we need a robust theory of human rights. And so, in the third place, I have suggested that a discourse of human rights can be a realistic response to a culturally diverse world, without its existence threatening cultural integrity.

If the proposals in this paper are plausible, there are three corollaries that are particularly significant to the issue of universal human rights, and that bear on the questions raised at the beginning of this paper. First, a model of cultural integrity provides a kind of philosophical foundation (though in a non-traditional way) for a discourse of rights. Second, since human rights are a necessary part of cultural identity, it follows that a discourse of human rights is not inherently or distinctively occidental. And, finally, if the model of cultural integrity is a desirable one, it follows that the promotion of a discourse of human rights does not necessarily violate the cultural integrity of non-European/non-American societies.




[1] This paper was initially presented at the University of Pune, while I was a Visiting Professorial Fellow in the Department of Philosophy. An earlier version was read at the International Conference on Ethnicity, Cultural Identity and Freedom (Afro‑Asian Philosophy Association), in New Delhi. I am grateful to Professors Sharad Deshpande and R. Balasubramanian and their colleagues in Pune and New Delhi for their comments and suggestions. I am also grateful for the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, under Grant 410-00-0056.

[2] See Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Marx/Engels Selected Works in One Volume; London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1973, pp. 320-321; Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France, ed C.C. O’Brien, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1969, pp. 149-151, 153, 194-195, and Jeremy Bentham, Anarchical Fallacies, in his Works, ed. J. Bowring, London, 1838-1843, Vol. II, pp. 489-534, and, generally, Jeremy Waldron, Nonsense upon Stilts: Bentham, Burke and Marx on the Rights of Man, London: Methuen, 1987. More recent challenges have come particularly from ‘communitarians,’ such as Michael Walzer (who argues that as the notion of rights is extended, the more ‘democratic space’ is narrowed; see his "Liberalism and the Art of Separation," Political Theory, 12 (1984): 315-330) and Alasdair MacIntyre (After Virtue, 2nd ed., Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984).

[3] This was the view expressed by delegates from China and Indonesia at the June 1993 World Conference on Human Rights, held in Vienna.

[4] These are, of course, rights recognized in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, under articles  3, 4, 9, and 12. Other rights could be similarly shown to be involved in personal integrity.

[5] Raymond Williams, “Culture and Civilization,” in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Paul Edwards, New York: Macmillan and Free Press, 1967, Vol. 2, pp. 273-276, at p. 273.

[6] UNDHR, article 29.

[7] This is specifically recognized in the UNDHR, under articles 21 and 27.