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10 - New Natural Law Foundations of Human Rights

from Part II - Natural Law Foundations of Human Rights Obligations

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

The New Natural Law Theory (NNLT) identifies the foundations of ethics in practical principles directing agents to aspects of human flourishing in an all-round reasonable manner. Other normative principles and concepts, including the concept of human rights, are understood in terms of their relationship to human flourishing, and the basic human goods that are constitutive aspects of that flourishing. NNLT thus possesses resources to explain the justification and importance of human rights, as well as the role rights talk plays in the overall economy of moral, political, and legal discourse. In this chapter, Section 2 discusses the logic of rights; Section 3 provides the general foundations for the justification of rights, both human and legal, in considerations of justice and common good. Section 4 looks at the paradigm case of human or natural rights: rights that are absolute and thus already conform to the logical structure of rights identified in Section 2. Section 5 identifies the scope of such rights as including all human beings. Section 6 addresses the relationship between human and legal rights. Finally, Section 7 addresses the metaphysical status of human rights.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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