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2 - Natural Law and Human Rights

Continuities and Discontinuities

from Part I - Natural Law and the Origins of Human Rights

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 November 2022

Tom Angier
Affiliation:
University of Cape Town
Iain T. Benson
Affiliation:
University of Notre Dame, Australia
Mark D. Retter
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
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Summary

Does the concept of natural rights have roots, logical and historical, in the concept of natural law? Our answer is, ‘it depends’. By this, we mean that some conceptions across Western history do not in fact allow for the derivation of natural rights in the subjective sense. In contrast, others are conceived such that natural rights follow logically therefrom. Our premise is that talking about ‘natural law’ in the singular – at least in the period from Roman times to sixteenth-century – represents a distortion of on-the-ground realities.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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