Broadening the British idealist approach to human rights: J. S. Mackenzie's list of political, economic, and social rights

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Kaymaz N. P.

JOURNAL OF HUMAN RIGHTS, vol.20, no.5, pp.564-579, 2021 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 20 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/14754835.2021.1969226
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Humanities Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Political Science Complete, Public Affairs Index, Violence & Abuse Abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.564-579
  • TED University Affiliated: Yes


Although an extensive literature on the British idealist theory of human rights exists, it is limited by its focus on prominent British idealist philosophers and its predominant interest in civic and political rights. This article broadens our understanding of the subject by examining the lesser-known British idealist John Stuart Mackenzie's work on economic and social human rights. Mackenzie's reflections on the matter appear to be significant as an early example of employing human rights language as a solution to widespread poverty and destitution in Britain. His use of a tripartite idealist perception of human nature allows Mackenzie to underline the complexity of human potential and human need that must be protected in all spheres of social interaction. In light of ongoing challenges to the legitimacy of economic and social rights as human rights, Mackenzie's work constitutes a solid example of a maximalist approach to human rights that aims to not merely ensure survival but leads to the realization of a truly human life.