n South African Journal on Human Rights - Feasibility constraints and human rights : does 'ought' imply 'can'?

Volume 28, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0258-7203



Most theorists of human rights believe that human rights are subject to a feasibility constraint. But they tend not to say much about what such a constraint means, or its consequences for a theory of human rights. This lack of clarity has allowed feasibility to become a rhetorical weapon in the hands of conservatives who oppose egalitarian conceptions of human rights. I analyse the concept of a feasibility constraint and argue that a strict feasibility constraint over theories of human rights is not justified. Arguments against egalitarian conceptions of human rights that depend on such a feasibility constraint are therefore flawed.

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