Natural Rights (Simplistic version)

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  • Created by: Owais360
  • Created on: 28-03-14 19:50
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  • Natural Rights
    • Advantages
      • 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.
    • Objections
      • 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
  • Furthermore...
    • 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.


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