Human Rights as Fundamental Conditions for a Good Life

What grounds human rights? How do we determine that something is a genuine human right? In this paper, I offer a new answer: human beings have human rights to what I call the fundamental conditions for pursuing a good life. These are certain goods, capacities and options that human beings qua human beings need whatever else they (qua individuals) might need in order to pursue a characteristically good human life. I call this the Fundamental Conditions Approach. Among other things, I explain how this way of grounding human rights is better than James Griffin’s Agency Approach and Martha Nussbaum’s Central Capabilities Approach, and I also show how it can be compatible with the increasingly popular Political Conceptions of human rights defended by John Rawls, Charles Beitz and Joseph Raz. [In Cruft, R., Liao, S. M., and M. Renzo (eds.), The Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights, Oxford University Press, 2015] [pdf | html]

Aug 20th, 2014 | By | Category: Ethics, Latest Research

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