Sociology Index


Universality is a philosophy concerning the provision of the benefits of the welfare state which declares that all citizens have access regardless of their need. A proposition is said to have universality if it can be conceived as being true in all possible contexts without creating a contradiction.

Some philosophers have referred to such universality propositions as universalizable. Universal Declaration of Human Rights is inspired by the universality principles. Universality also refers to the medieval concept of an absolute, all-encompassing morality that justified a universal secular rule by one all-powerful Holy Roman Emperor, and also justified as universal the religious rule by one all-powerful all-encompassing church. In the 17th century, the doctrine of universality gave way to the doctrine of raison d'�tat or national interest.

The Universality of the Concept of Human Rights 
Debate about the universality of human rights requires definition of "human rights" and even of "universality."

The idea of human rights is related but not equivalent to justice, the good, democracy. Strictly, the conception is that every individual has legitimate claims upon his or her society for defined freedoms and benefits; an authoritative catalog of rights is set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The rights of the Universal Declaration are politically and legally universal, having been accepted by virtually all states, incorporated into their own laws, and translated into international legal obligations. Assuring respect for rights in fact, however, will require the continued development of stable political societies and of the commitment to constitutionalism. Virtually all societies are also culturally receptive to those basic rights and human needs included in the Universal Declaration that reflect common contemporary moral intuitions. - LOUIS HENKIN - The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 506, No. 1, 10-16 (1989)

Cross-Cultural Generalization and Universality 
Fons J.R. Van De Vijver, Ype H. Poortinga, Tilburg University The Netherlands 
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, Vol. 13, No. 4, 387-408 (1982)
Different meanings of the concept universality are distinguished and ordered according to the degree to which they are open to empirical control. Universality and specificity are considered as relative rather than absolute concepts. A relationship between the analysis of universality and the analysis of comparability or psychometric equivalence of data is established. An integrated approach to the analysis of universality and equivalence within the context of Generalizability Theory is outlined and illustrated with an example.

The intersection of information, economics and universality In the financial world of the 1990s - Paul Kleinbart 
Cedel (Centrale de Lwraison de Valeurs Mobih�res. Luxemourg, Journal of Information Science, Vol. 17, No. 3, 137-143 (1991)
In the 1980s three separate elements: economics. information and universality, converged to form the founda tion upon which the 1990s will be built As exemplified by an international securities clearing system, which by definition is he embodiment of the three aforementioned elements, the ssay considers various aspects of the interrelation between conomics, information and universality and particularly their mpact on the financial world.

Universality Biases - How Theories About Human Nature Succeed 
Gail A. Hornstein, Mount Holyoke College - Susan Leigh Star, University of Keele, England 
Philosophy of the Social Sciences, Vol. 20, No. 4, 421-436 (1990)
This article analyzes the strategies and means by which universalist claims about human nature become successful in science. Of specific interest are the conditions under which claims of this sort are taken to be inherently superior to those which are particularistic or context-specific (a hierarchy of values which we term universality bias). We trace the birth of universalists claims in neglected fields, their growth through methodological agreements and the use of invisible referents, and their roots in multiple audiences with different evaluation criteria. Our analysis complements philosophical and political critiques of theories about human nature and demonstrates the historical specificity of universalist claims.