- Natural Rights
- The obvious advantage is that it protects individuals from abuse across the world.
- Natural rights can act as a framework for international relations and monitor behaviour.
- That they exist at all.
- If they do exist, what are those rights?
- Religion and Natural Rights
- Natural rights have a tendency to be based upon religious foundations.
- The interpretation of what is natural and rational is controversial
- There must be a clear distinction between explaining scientifically how the universe functions and moralising.
- Problems of human nature
- A Darwinian account will not ascribe purose, value or divine will to life.
- Even if we base rights on human nature, there are problems:
- Human nature may be partial, selective or non existent
- Even if we could agree on a human nature then there is a gap between fact and value (Marx)
- Objections to Locke
- If everything is gods workmanship, then we could not even destroy bacteria, to treat humanity as something special is to give a value to a species which is always questionnable.
- Reason is only a faculty of calculating; it cannot discern moral and universal absolutes (Hume, Hobbes)
- People are not born equal in any factual sense, this is a recommendation to an equal moral status, which is open to debate
- It is clear that rights are not possessed like property.
- They are conferred by others.
- They must be a product of society, not pre-social
- Thus different rights have evolved in different cultures.
Similar Philosophy resources: