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On the Foundations of Human Rights

Penultimate version of chapter to appear in Cruft, Liao, Renzo (eds), Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights (OUP, 2014)

26 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2015  

John Tasioulas

King's College London – The Dickson Poon School of Law

Date Written: January 25, 2015

Abstract

This paper provides an account of the grounds of human rights, considered as moral rights possessed by all human beings simply in virtue of their humanity. It identifies two such grounds: a plurality of universal human interests and the value of human dignity (the intrinsic and non-derivative value of being a human being). It also offers an extended account of the 'threshold' at which considerations of universal interests and human dignity generate duties in the case of all human beings. The paper concludes by showing that this pluralistic view of the grounding of human nights is superior to both a needs-based and a personhood-based approach.

Keywords: human rights, human dignity, personhood, autonomy, pluralism

Suggested Citation

Tasioulas, John, On the Foundations of Human Rights (January 25, 2015). Penultimate version of chapter to appear in Cruft, Liao, Renzo (eds), Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights (OUP, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2555277

John Tasioulas (Contact Author)

King's College London – The Dickson Poon School of Law ( email )

Somerset House East Wing
Strand
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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