Ethical individualism, natural law, and the primacy of natural rights

Social Philosophy and Policy 18 (1):34-69 (2001)
Abstract
Whether or not Strauss's observation is historically accurate, it does suggest two sets of questions for philosophical examination. (1) Is Strauss correct to view natural duties and natural rights as the same type of ethical concept? Do they serve the same function? Do they work on the same level, and are they necessarily in competition with each other? (2) Does saying that the individual human being is the center of the moral world require that one reject the idea of a human end, or telos? Does accepting the ethical centrality of a human telos require that one reject ethical individualism? Are they mutually exclusive?Footnotes* For criticism, we are grateful to the other contributors to this volume and to its editors, as well as Paul Gaffney
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