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The Metaphysics of Human Rights (La Metafísica de los Derechos Humanos) (Spanish)

Carlos L. Bernal Pulido

Universidad Externado de Colombia

December 11, 2010

Revista Derecho del Estado, No. 25, pp. 117-133, December 2010

Human rights, as institutions, raise many interesting metaphysical or ontological questions. The most important are: What kind of entities are human rights? What properties do Human Rights bear?, and How this properties do form a structure, in order to create Human Rights? This paper aims to provide an answer to this question, but only taking into account the meaning of the expression “Human Rights” as legal rights, i.e. as individual rights guaranteed by international systems of Human Rights. The main claim is that Human Rights are a species of the genus legal rights. Human rights are legal rights whose differentia specifica is their “human” character. Thus, stating a concept of Human Rights presupposes, first, understanding the concept of legal rights, and, second, identifying the properties giving Human Rights their nature as “Human”. This paper analyzes the structure of Human Rights and their formal and material properties. Formal properties are: the guarantee of the right in international treatises of Human Rights, and its recognition and protection in the case law of international human rights courts. Material properties refer to the link between human rights and the concept of person that the liberal, democratic, and social state presupposes. This paper considers to what extend these properties are to be deemed necessary, sufficient or necessary and sufficient conditions for a right to be a Human Rights.

Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 17

Keywords: Human Rights-Concept, Human Rights-Properties, Human Rights-Justitication

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Date posted: January 12, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Bernal Pulido, Carlos L., The Metaphysics of Human Rights (La Metafísica de los Derechos Humanos) (Spanish) (December 11, 2010). Revista Derecho del Estado, No. 25, pp. 117-133, December 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1738460

Contact Information

Carlos L. Bernal Pulido (Contact Author)
Universidad Externado de Colombia ( email )
Calle 12 0 83
Bogota D.C, Cundinamarca 3456
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