Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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Philosophic Iterations, Cosmopolitanism, and the 'Right to Rights': Conversation with Seyla Benhabib, Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Yale University, March 18, 2004, by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today is Seyla Benhabib, who is the Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Yale University, and Director of the program in Ethics, Politics, and Economics. She is the author of numerous books, including Critique, Norm, and Utopia, Situating the Self, The Reluctant Modernism of Hannah Arendt, and The Claims of Culture. She is the 2004 Tanner Lecturer at UC Berkeley.

  1. Background ... family identity as Sephardic Jews in Turkey ... sensitivity to multiculturalism ... European influence at home ... limitations on women in the past ... cosmopolitanism of Istanbul
  2. Education ... Brandeis and Yale ... choosing political philosophy ... Vietnam War and the sixties ... workers' movements ... key philosophical question ... Hegel
  3. Being a Political Philosopher ... fundamental political nature of humanity ... the troubled state of the political today ... prerequisites of the vocation: history and passion ... iterations and narrative ... role of women in political philosophy ... Hannah Arendt
  4. New Norms of Human Rights ... Universal Declaration of Human Rights ... rights agreements since then ... nation states obliged to follow cosmopolitan norms
  5. The Enduring Ideals of Kant ... Toward a Perpetual Peace ... the right to hospitality ... modern relevance ... refugees ... governmental side-stepping ... paradox for European Union: internal vs. external borders
  6. The Effects of Globalization ... rights not bounded by the state ... loss of rights of stateless people ... Arendt's dissatisfying conclusion about Israel ... decriminalizing border crossing ...prisoners at Guantanamo Bay

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