The Inherent Rights of Human Beings Essay

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The Inherent Rights of Human Beings

This question is concerned with whether or not it is possible for 'natural rights' to exist. 'Natural' rights are rights which we have 'naturally' as humans, in other words rights which we inherently have, just by being human. A large problem with answering this question is that of defining the term 'rights', a question to which the answer has been very elusive throughout the history of political analysis. The following investigation into the possibility of 'natural rights' will begin with an attempt to create a working definition of a rights, and will then proceed to examine the essence of humanity and the roots of what is a 'right', to see if it is possible to have a 'right' simply by being
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It is possible to conceive of a situation in which a human being exists outside of society, indeed many philosophies are based on there having been a pre-social period of human existence. Although this is dubitable, it is important to justify a natural right through examining a single human being, since it is in the essence of humanity where the 'natural right' must be found.
Another problem with this attempt at a definition of rights, is that it puts little emphasis of the importance of morality when making statements about rights. Dworkin's thesis defines a right without reference to any morals, yet any judgement over rights is almost always a moral judgement. It shall be seen that any investigation of rights boils down to a moral investigation, and this presents significant problems. These shall be tackled at a later stage, but first this analysis will see how deep it is possible to penetrate the question of 'natural rights' without drifting into moral arguments.
The historically most significant way of justifying 'natural rights' is through statement such as 'Men are born free'. This kind of statement, although not explicit in stating a 'right' as such, nevertheless has been the root of a number of political institutions, such as the French and American revolutions. The statement above implies an inherent equality and freedom in mankind, and this has been taken by scholars…