natural rights and natural law

natural rights and natural law

  1. (moral and political philosophy) originally, the doctrine that the principles of right conduct could be discovered by a process of rational enquiry into the nature of Man as God made him. For a political theorist such as John LOCKE, the laws of nature were the commands of God. From natural law, people derive rights to the means which they need in order to perform these duties.
  2. the entitlements advanced as attaching to all human beings simply by virtue of their common humanity. While, in this second sense, natural rights may still be advanced as the foundation of normative theory, they are nowadays usually detached from their original religious basis, although conceptions that these rights are, or should be, ‘self-evident’, and that they provide a standard for all evaluations of political and legal rights, remain a powerful force in political discourse.
The connection between natural law, as the commands of God, and natural rights, was a strong element in the United States Declaration of Independence. Thereafter the language of rights becomes steadily divorced from its natural law setting, and, from the French Revolution onwards, takes off into the realm of the ‘rights of man’. The 20th-century has added an array of economic and social rights to the original ones (see CIVIL RIGHTS. CITIZEN RIGHTS), but it is now relatively uncommon to meet the terms ‘natural rights’ and ‘natural law’ in their original usage, and these have virtually disappeared from everyday political discourse.
References in periodicals archive ?
It is here that Boucher shows how the concepts of natural rights and natural law shifted into what we now see as human rights, and he finishes this movement over the course of the subsequent essays.
However, it needs to be noted that I am not addressing Lamont's arguments about the specific understanding of natural law and conscience which Suarez had; rather, I am taking a more general approach to show the compatibility of natural rights and natural law, regardless of how Suarez may have understood natural law in relation to practical reason and the Divine will and conscience.
See contra FORTIN, The Trouble with Catholic Social Thought, supra note 2, at 304-05 (positing that natural rights and natural law approaches are not easily reconciled); KRAYNAK, CHRISTIAN FMTH, supra note 2, at 169 (arguing that human rights undermine the notion of an objective, common "Good"); Kraynak, Citizenship in Two Worlds, supra note 2, at 293 ("The Catholic conception of the common good is best captured by the concept of corporate hierarchy rather than by conditions for the exercise of individual rights.
Full browser ?