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Rights and responsibilities - Intro
Transcript of Rights and responsibilities - Intro
Tension between the
How do you define a just society?
Do you start with the needs of the individual and ask how the society/State can enable them to flourish?
Do you prioritise the needs of the group and assess what you will allow the individual to do to ensure the group flourishes?
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Individuals could only flourish if the State was well ordered
Justice would benefit everyone, not just the weak
Justice/law to be handed down by Guardians, who alone knew what was for the best
Truest form of justice is a kind of friendship - a mutual exchange that promotes flourishing
Well born = arrogant
Poor = commit crime
Middle classes = rational
Primarily concerned with the orderly functioning of the state and the common good, although plenty to say about individual morality
What to do?
Divine right of Kings
monarch derives his right to rule directly from the will of God
recasting of the relationship between the individual and authority
argued for representation in government, ensuring that governments are held to account
Each individual has God given unalienable rights:
"We are by nature all free, equal and independent"
US Declaration of Independence
French Declaration of the Rights of Man
Do they exist? What is your view?
"We hold these truths to be self evident,
that all men are created equal,that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
inalienable rights, that among these are
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
based on 'natural law'
2.The aim of all political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression...
1.Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions may be founded only upon the general good.
and the rights of the individual are respected
New thinking about
the rights of the individual
opposed rule based on religious authority or arbitrary power
opposed notion of hierarchies, or natural subordination
Rights of Man
Rights exist by virtue of our existence
not because of any charter, since that charter could be revoked.
The fact therefore must be that the individuals themselves, each in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a contract with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist.
natural rights are "nonsense upon stilts"
They don't exist and so cannot be set out or defended
only basis of rights was 'general utility'
Rights only exist in man-made law
Human Rights Act 1998
Think of your family or the classroom
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
1938 - 2002
people should be treated as ends in themselves
task of the state is to protect the rights of individuals, in particular their freedom and their property
supported a vision of peace based on democracy and the rule of law
requires states to implement its provisions
International human rights law has many instruments
International convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination
Convention on the rights of the child
Convention against torture
Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women
UK human rights legislation
codifies European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into UK law
All public bodies have to comply with the rights...schools included!
rights of inclusion v religious freedom
something which cannot be taken away
basis of universal human rights
not we own ourselves
not derived from God
nor based on our preferences, interests,
but on REASON
Each person is a rational being worthy of respect and dignity
Being moral is about respecting each person as an end in themselves and their right to be free (it's not about maximising happiness)
We are autonomous...acting according to a law I give myself
(not according to desire or instinct or fashion over which I have no control)
It is respect for persons as human beings...not love
And it is universalisable
Maths = universal
Pascal's triangle is from China
UDHR Article 18: We all have the right to believe in whatever we wish, to have a faith and to change this if we wish
Concentrate your mind on a given object
rights of convicted prisoners
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
Built on varied legal systems and cultural traditions, the Convention is a universally agreed set of non-negotiable standards and obligations. These basic standards—also called human rights—set minimum entitlements and freedoms that should be respected by governments. They are founded on respect for the dignity and worth of each individual, regardless of race, colour, gender, language, religion, opinions, origins, wealth, birth status or ability and therefore apply to every human being everywhere. With these rights comes the obligation on both governments and individuals not to infringe on the parallel rights of others. These standards are both interdependent and indivisible; we cannot ensure some rights without—or at the expense of—other rights.
Natural rights v Legal rights
there are no rights in nature
nature is interpreted by humankind
e.g self defence: we observe that people do it, but to call it a right...?
argument between theorists
Perhaps 'natural rights' are "really strong ethical pronouncements as to what should be done"
The Idea of Justice
i.e. the freedoms that need to be allowed AND
the social obligations to promote or safeguard those freedoms
so, natural HR is ethical approach, not a strictly legal one
Explore the emergence of
'human rights' philosophy
Explore the emergence of
social contract theory and rights
Begin to consider the place of 'rights'
State has only a minimal role to play
No morals legislation
No redistribution of wealth by taxation
They all violate the right of the individual to choose their own path
They are coercion
to promote notions of virtue
What happens in the state of nature?
is the only innate right
William Blake's Newton as a divine geometer (1795)
i.e. legal rights