Natural Rights

Topics: United States Declaration of Independence, Human rights, Natural and legal rights Pages: 15 (4743 words) Published: March 8, 2013
Natural and legal rights are two types of rights[->0] theoretically distinct according to philosophers[->1] and political scientists[->2]. Natural rights are rights not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of any particular culture or government, and therefore universal and inalienable. In contrast, legal rights are those bestowed onto a person by a given legal system[->3]. The theory of natural law[->4] is closely related to the theory of natural rights. During the Age of Enlightenment[->5], natural law theory challenged the divine right of kings[->6], and became an alternative justification for the establishment of a social contract[->7], positive law[->8], and government[->9] — and thus legal rights — in the form of classical republicanism[->10]. Conversely, the concept of natural rights is used by some anarchists[->11] to challenge the legitimacy of all such establishments.[1]HYPERLINK \l "cite_note-2"[2] The idea of human rights[->12] is also closely related to that of natural rights; some recognize no difference between the two and regard both as labels for the same thing, while others choose to keep the terms separate to eliminate association with some features traditionally associated with natural rights.[3] Natural rights, in particular, are considered beyond the authority of any government or international body[->13] to dismiss. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights[->14] is an important legal instrument[->15] enshrining one conception of natural rights into international soft law[->16]. Natural rights were traditionally viewed as exclusively negative rights[->17],[4] whereas human rights also comprise positive rights.[5] The idea that animals have natural rights[->18] is one that has gained the interest of philosophers and legal scholars in the 20th century,[6] Even on a natural rights conception of human rights, the two terms may not be synonymous. The legal philosophy known as Declarationism[->19] seeks to incorporate the natural rights philosophy of the United States Declaration of Independence[->20] into the body of American case law on a level with the United States Constitution[->21]. Contents[hide] ·1 Natural rights theories ·1.1 Thomas Hobbes 1.2 John Locke 1.3 Thomas Paine·2 Debate 3 History ·3.1 Ancient history 3.2 Modern history ·3.2.1 In Iran ·3.3 Contemporary history·4 Legal rights documents 5 See also 6 Notes 7 Further reading 8 External links| [edit] Natural rights theories

The existence of natural rights has been asserted by different individuals on different premises, such as a priori[->22] philosophical reasoning or religious principles. For example, Immanuel Kant[->23] claimed to derive natural rights through reason alone. The Declaration of Independence, meanwhile, is based upon the "self-evident[->24]" truth that "all men are ... endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights".[7] Likewise, different philosophers and statesmen have designed different lists of what they believe to be natural rights; almost all include the right to life[->25] and liberty[->26] as the two highest priorities. H. L. A. Hart[->27] argued that if there are any rights at all, there must be the right to liberty, for all the others would depend upon this. T. H. Green[->28] argued that “if there are such things as rights at all, then, there must be a right to life and liberty, or, to put it more properly to free life.”[8] John Locke[->29] emphasized "life, liberty and property" as primary. However, despite Locke's influential defense of the right of revolution[->30], Thomas Jefferson[->31] substituted "pursuit of happiness" in place of "property" in the United States Declaration of Independence[->32]. [edit] Thomas Hobbes

Main article: Thomas Hobbes[->33]
Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) included a discussion of natural rights in his moral and political philosophy[->34]. Hobbes' conception of natural rights extended from his conception of man in a "state of...
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