On the Misconceived Genealogy of Human Rights

Social Philosophy Today 21:17-32 (2005)
Abstract
The general practice of tracing the concept of human rights back to its presumed philosophical origins in the concepts of natural law and/or natural right, and invoking those concepts to give the idea of human rights its moral direction and philosophical substance, is dramatically mistaken. Interpreting human rights as the philosophical progeny of these earlier traditions allows the uglier aspects of natural rights and natural law, which the concept of human rights was intended to remedy, to serve as the defining characteristics of human rights
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