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Natural Rights Human Rights and the Role of Social Recognition

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This paper pays special attention to T.H. Green's account of rights as developed in the Lectures on the Principles of Political Obligation. Green's theory can be viewed as having at least two main levels. The first level is his general account of rights, emphasizing the notions of social recognition, of a power or capacity that each right-holder has, and of the common good subserved by proper rights. The second level is that of universal rights; here special attention will be paid to Green's critique of seventeenth-century natural rights and to the theory of human rights that Green evolved to replace and improve upon the old natural rights tradition. In its account of contemporary human rights theory, the paperwill emphasize the special role that social recognition plays in both the moral project of justifying human rights and in the institutionalization that is a necessary feature of any fully constituted human right, functioning at full capacity.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Philosophy, University of Kansas, Email: rexm@ku.edu

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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