2nd semester Monday evening                     (Min. No. 8)



This unit will trace the historical development and understanding of human rights and their relations to justice. It will examine some influential contemporary theories of justice and human rights. Particular attention will be given to the Roman Catholic understanding of justice and rights and how they found expressions in official Catholic documents and in the writings of Catholic theologians. Finally, some current issues such as work, environment, property, political responsibilities of a citizen, globalisation and capital punishment will be addressed.



Level 2: DT1000Y or equivalent

Level 3: One unit in Philosophy at level 2 and DT1000Y or equivalent



Upon successful completion of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate a grasp of the philosophical and theological foundations of the various conflicting justice and human rights positions in public discourse
  2. engage in critical dialogue with groups that are involved in justice and human rights issues in the public domain, both local and international, in regard to the foundations for justice and rights
  3. demonstrate competency to make informed choices about the justice and rights groups they want to commit themselves to with their various social agendas
  4. discuss the conflicting rights and duties that politicians and citizens have to face when formulating public policies for the body politic
  5. identify the foundations necessary to pursue their personal interests in these issues through research and reading.



Level 2: 1500 word tutorial paper (30%), 2500 word essay (70%)

Level 3: 1500 word tutorial paper (30%), 3500 word essay (70%)



Curran, Charles E. Catholic Social Teaching 1891- Present: A Historical, Theological and Ethical Analysis. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2002.

Donnelly, Jack. Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice. 2nd ed. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003.

Hollenbach, David. Claims in Conflict: Retrieving and Renewing the Catholic Human Rights Tradition. New York: Paulist Press, 1979.

———. Justice, Peace, and Human Rights: American Catholic Social Ethics in a Pluralist Context.  New York: Crossroad, 1988.

Ishay, Micheline. The Human Rights Reader: Major Political Essays, Speeches, and Documents from Ancient Times to the Present. 2nd ed. New York: Taylor and Francis Group, 2007.

Lauren, Paul Gordon. The Evolution of International Human Rights: Visions Seen. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003.

Laqueur, Walter, and Barry Rubin, eds. The Human Rights Reader. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1979.

Lebacqz, Karen. Six Theories of Justice. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1986.

Mahoney, Jack. The Challenge of Human Rights: Origin, Development and Significance. Oxford: Blackwell, 2007.

Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Vatican City: Liberia Editrice Vaticana, 2004.


Lecturer:                 BERNARD TEO CSsR