Law is a set of rules that are created and are enforceable by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', 90. with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate. It has been vari ...
, social, or
Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior".''Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy'' The field of ethics, along with aesthetics, concerns ... principle
A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule that has to be or usually is to be followed. It can be desirably followed, or it can be an inevitable consequence of something, such as the la ...
Freedom is understood as either having the ability to act or change without constraint or to possess the power and resources to fulfill one's purposes unhindered. Freedom is often associated with liberty and autonomy in the sense of "giving o ...
An entitlement is a provision made in accordance with a legal framework of a society. Typically, entitlements are based on concepts of principle ("rights") which are themselves based in concepts of social equality or enfranchisement.
In psychol ...
; that is, rights are the fundamental
Normative generally means relating to an evaluative standard. Normativity is the phenomenon in human societies of designating some actions or outcomes as good, desirable, or permissible, and others as bad, undesirable, or impermissible. A norm in ...
rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people according to some legal system,
A convention is a set of agreed, stipulated, or generally accepted standards, norms, social norms, or criteria, often taking the form of a custom.
In a social context, a convention may retain the character of an "unwritten law" of custom (for ex ...
, or ethical theory.
[ Rights are of essential importance in such disciplines as ] law
Law is a set of rules that are created and are enforceable by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', 90. with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate. It has been vari ... and ethics
Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior".''Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy'' The field of ethics, along with aesthetics, concerns ..., especially theories of justice
Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many differing viewpoints and perspective ... and deontology
In moral philosophy, deontological ethics or deontology (from Greek: + ) is the normative ethical theory that the morality of an action should be based on whether that action itself is right or wrong under a series of rules and principles, ....
Rights are fundamental to any civilization
A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society characterized by the development of a state, social stratification, urbanization, and symbolic systems of communication beyond natural spoken language (namely, a writing system).
... and the history of social conflict
Social conflict is the struggle for agency or power in society.
Social conflict occurs when two or more people oppose each other in social interaction, and each exerts social power with reciprocity in an effort to achieve incompatible goals but ...s is often bound up with attempts both to define and to redefine them. According to the ''Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy'', "rights structure the form of governments, the content of laws
Law is a set of rules that are created and are enforceable by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', 90. with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate. It has been vari ..., and the shape of morality
Morality () is the differentiation of intentions, decisions and actions between those that are distinguished as proper (right) and those that are improper (wrong). Morality can be a body of standards or principles derived from a code of con ... as it is currently perceived". [
One way to get an idea of the multiple understandings and senses of the term is to consider different ways it is used. Many diverse things are claimed as rights:
There are likewise diverse possible ways to categorize rights, such as:
There has been considerable debate about what this term means within the academic community, particularly within fields such as
Philosophy (from , ) is the systematized study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence, reason, knowledge, values, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. ..., law
Law is a set of rules that are created and are enforceable by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', 90. with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate. It has been vari ..., deontology
In moral philosophy, deontological ethics or deontology (from Greek: + ) is the normative ethical theory that the morality of an action should be based on whether that action itself is right or wrong under a series of rules and principles, ..., logic
Logic is the study of correct reasoning. It includes both formal and informal logic. Formal logic is the science of deductively valid inferences or of logical truths. It is a formal science investigating how conclusions follow from prem ..., political science
Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the analysis of political activities, political thought, political behavior, and associated constitutions a ..., and religion
Religion is usually defined as a social- cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that generally relates humanity to supernatu ....
Natural versus legal
* Natural rights are rights which are "natural" in the sense of "not artificial, not man-made", as in rights deriving from
Human nature is a concept that denotes the fundamental dispositions and characteristics—including ways of thinking, feeling, and acting—that humans are said to have naturally. The term is often used to denote the essence of humankind, or ... or from the edicts of a god. They are universal; that is, they apply to all people, and do not derive from the laws of any specific society. They exist necessarily, inhere in every individual, and cannot be taken away. For example, it has been argued that humans have a natural ''right to life''. These are sometimes called ''moral rights'' or ''inalienable rights''.
* Legal rights, in contrast, are based on a society's customs, laws, statute
A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative authority that governs the legal entities of a city, state, or country by way of consent. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare policy. Statutes are rules made ...s or actions by legislature
A legislature is an assembly with the authority to make laws for a political entity such as a country or city. They are often contrasted with the executive and judicial powers of government.
Laws enacted by legislatures are usually kno ...s. An example of a legal right is the ''right to vote'' of citizens. Citizenship
Citizenship is a "relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection".
Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its citizens, and ..., itself, is often considered as the basis for having legal rights, and has been defined as the "right to have rights". Legal rights are sometimes called '' civil rights
Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from infringement by governments, social organizations, and private individuals. They ensure one's entitlement to participate in the civil and political life ...'' or ''statutory rights'' and are culturally and politically relative since they depend on a specific societal context to have meaning.
Some thinkers see rights in only one sense while others accept that both senses have a measure of validity. There has been considerable philosophical debate about these senses throughout history. For example, Jeremy Bentham
Jeremy Bentham (; 15 February 1748 Old_Style_and_New_Style_dates">O.S._4_February_1747.html" ;"title="Old_Style_and_New_Style_dates.html" ;"title="nowiki/>Old Style and New Style dates">O.S. 4 February 1747">Old_Style_and_New_Style_dates.htm ... believed that legal rights were the essence of rights, and he denied the existence of natural rights; whereas Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, OP (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican friar and priest who was an influential philosopher, theologian and jurist in the tradition of scholasticism; he is known ... held that rights purported by positive law
Positive laws ( la, links=no, ius positum) are human-made laws that oblige or specify an action. Positive law also describes the establishment of specific rights for an individual or group. Etymologically, the name derives from the verb ''to posit ... but not grounded in natural law
Natural law ( la, ius naturale, ''lex naturalis'') is a system of law based on a close observation of human nature, and based on values intrinsic to human nature that can be deduced and applied independently of positive law (the express enacte ... were not properly rights at all, but only a facade or pretense of rights.
Claim versus liberty
* A claim right is a right which entails that another person has a duty to the right-holder. Somebody else must do or refrain from doing something to or for the ''claim holder'', such as perform a service or supply a product for him or her; that is, he or she has a ''claim'' to that service or product (another term is ''
thing in action Chose (pronounced: , French for "thing") is a term used in common law tradition to refer to rights in property, specifically a combined bundle of rights. A chose describes the enforcement right which a party possesses in an object. The use of ''chos ...''). In logic, this idea can be expressed as: "Person ''A'' has a claim that person ''B'' do something if and only if ''B'' has a duty to ''A'' to do that something." Every claim-right entails that some other duty-bearer must do some duty for the claim to be satisfied. This duty can be to act or to refrain from acting. For example, many jurisdictions recognize broad claim rights to things like "life, liberty, and property"; these rights impose an obligation upon others ''not'' to assault or restrain a person, or use their property, without the claim-holder's permission. Likewise, in jurisdictions where social welfare services are guaranteed, citizens have legal claim rights to be provided with those services.
* A liberty right or ''privilege'', in contrast, is simply a freedom or permission for the right-holder to do something, and there are ''no obligations'' on other parties to do or not do anything. This can be expressed in logic as: "Person ''A'' has a privilege to do something if and only if ''A'' has no duty not to do that something." For example, if a person has a legal liberty right to free speech, that merely means that it is not legally forbidden for them to speak freely: it does ''not'' mean that anyone has to help enable their speech, or to listen to their speech; or even, per se, refrain from stopping them from speaking, though ''other'' rights, such as the claim right to be free from assault, may severely limit what others can do to stop them.
Liberty rights and claim rights are the inverse of one another: a person has a liberty right permitting him to do something only if there is no other person who has a claim right forbidding him from doing so. Likewise, if a person has a claim right against someone else, then that other person's liberty is limited. For example, a person has a ''liberty right'' to walk down a sidewalk and can decide freely whether or not to do so, since there is no obligation either to do so or to refrain from doing so. But pedestrians may have an obligation not to walk on certain lands, such as other people's private property, to which those other people have a claim right. So a person's ''liberty right'' of walking extends precisely to the point where another's ''claim right'' limits his or her freedom.
Positive versus negative
In one sense, a right is a permission to do something or an entitlement to a specific service or treatment from others, and these rights have been called ''positive rights''. However, in another sense, rights may allow or require inaction, and these are called ''negative rights''; they permit or require doing nothing. For example, in some countries, e.g. the
The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 states, a federal district, five major unincorporated territor ..., citizens have the ''positive right'' to vote and they have the ''negative right'' to not vote; people can choose not to vote in a given election without punishment. In other countries, e.g. Australia
Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. With an area of , Australia is the largest country b ..., however, citizens have a positive right to vote but they do not have a negative right to not vote, since voting is compulsory. Accordingly:
* Positive rights are permissions to do things, or entitlements to be done unto. One example of a positive right is the purported "right to welfare". [
* Negative rights are permissions not to do things, or entitlements to be left alone. Often the distinction is invoked by ] libertarians
Libertarianism (from french: libertaire, "libertarian"; from la, libertas, "freedom") is a political philosophy that upholds liberty as a core value. Libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and political freedom, and minimize the state's enc ... who think of a ''negative right'' as an entitlement to non-interference such as a right against being assaulted.
Though similarly named, positive and negative rights should not be confused with ''active rights'' (which encompass "privileges" and "powers") and ''passive rights'' (which encompass "claims" and "immunities").
Individual versus group
The general concept of rights is that they are possessed by individuals in the sense that they are permissions and entitlements to do things which other persons, or which governments or authorities, can not infringe. This is the understanding of people such as the author
Alice O'Connor (born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum;, . Most sources transliterate her given name as either ''Alisa'' or ''Alissa''. , 1905 – March 6, 1982), better known by her pen name Ayn Rand (), was a Russian-born American writer and ... who argued that only individuals have rights, according to her philosophy known as Objectivism
Objectivism is a philosophical system developed by Russian-American writer and philosopher Ayn Rand. She described it as "the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement .... However, others have argued that there are situations in which a group of persons is thought to have rights, or ''group rights''. Accordingly:
* Individual rights are rights held by individual people regardless of their group membership or lack thereof.
* Group rights have been argued to exist when a group is seen as more than a mere composite or assembly of separate individuals but an entity in its own right. In other words, it is possible to see a group as a distinct being in and of itself; it is akin to an enlarged individual, a corporate body, which has a distinct will and power of action and can be thought of as having ''rights''. For example, a platoon of soldiers in combat
Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapons) or unarmed ( not using weapons). Combat is sometimes resorted to as a method of self-defense, ... can be thought of as a distinct group, since individual members are willing to risk their lives for the survival of the group, and therefore the group can be conceived as having a "right" which is superior to that of any individual member; for example, a soldier who disobeys an officer can be punished, perhaps even killed, for a breach of obedience. But there is another sense of group rights in which people who are members of a group can be thought of as having specific individual rights because of their membership in a group. In this sense, the set of rights which individuals-as-group-members have is expanded because of their membership in a group. For example, workers who are members of a group such as a labor union can be thought of as having expanded individual rights because of their membership in the labor union, such as the rights to specific working conditions or wages. As expected, there is sometimes considerable disagreement about what exactly is meant by the term "group" as well as by the term "group rights".
There can be tension between individual and group rights. A classic instance in which group and individual rights clash is conflicts between unions and their members. For example, individual members of a union may wish a wage higher than the union-negotiated wage, but are prevented from making further requests; in a so-called closed shop
A pre-entry closed shop (or simply closed shop) is a form of union security agreement under which the employer agrees to hire union members only, and employees must remain members of the union at all times to remain employed. This is different f ... which has a union security agreement
A union security agreement is a contractual agreement, usually part of a union collective bargaining agreement, in which an employer and a trade or labor union agree on the extent to which the union may compel employees to join the union, and/or w ..., only the union has a ''right'' to decide matters for the individual union members such as wage rates. So, do the supposed "individual rights" of the workers prevail about the proper wage? Or do the "group rights" of the union regarding the proper wage prevail? Clearly this is a source of tension.
The Austrian School of Economics
The Austrian School is a heterodox school of economic thought that advocates strict adherence to methodological individualism, the concept that social phenomena result exclusively from the motivations and actions of individuals. Austrian school ... holds that only individuals think, feel, and act whether or not members of any abstract group. The society should thus according to economists of the school be analyzed starting from the individual. This methodology is called methodological individualism
In the social sciences, methodological individualism is the principle that subjective individual motivation explains social phenomena, rather than class or group dynamics which are illusory or artificial and therefore cannot truly explain marke ... and is used by the economists to justify individual rights
Group rights, also known as collective rights, are rights held by a group '' qua'' a group rather than individually by its members; in contrast, individual rights are rights held by individual people; even if they are group-differentiated, which ....
Other distinctions between rights draw more on historical association or
Family resemblance (german: Familienähnlichkeit, link=no) is a philosophical idea made popular by Ludwig Wittgenstein, with the best known exposition given in his posthumously published book '' Philosophical Investigations'' (1953). It argues th ... than on precise philosophical distinctions. These include the distinction between civil and political rights
Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from infringement by governments, social organizations, and private individuals. They ensure one's entitlement to participate in the civil and political life o ... and economic, social and cultural rights
Economic, social and cultural rights, (ESCR) are socio-economic human rights, such as the right to education, right to housing, right to an adequate standard of living, right to health, victims' rights and the right to science and culture ..., between which the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly that enshrines the rights and freedoms of all human beings. Drafted by a UN committee chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, i ... are often divided. Another conception of rights groups them into three generations. These distinctions have much overlap with that between negative and positive rights, as well as between individual rights
Group rights, also known as collective rights, are rights held by a group '' qua'' a group rather than individually by its members; in contrast, individual rights are rights held by individual people; even if they are group-differentiated, which ... and group rights, but these groupings are not entirely coextensive.
Rights are often included in the foundational questions that governments and politics have been designed to deal with. Often the development of these socio-political institutions have formed a dialectical relationship with rights.
Rights about particular issues, or the rights of particular groups, are often areas of special concern. Often these concerns arise when rights come into conflict with other legal or moral issues, sometimes even other rights. Issues of concern have historically included
Labor rights or workers' rights are both legal rights and human rights relating to labor relations between workers and employers. These rights are codified in national and international labor and employment law. In general, these rights inf ..., LGBT rights
Rights affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people vary greatly by country or jurisdiction—encompassing everything from the legal recognition of same-sex marriage to the death penalty for homosexuality.
Notably, , 3 ..., reproductive rights
Reproductive rights are legal rights and freedoms relating to reproduction and reproductive health that vary amongst countries around the world. The World Health Organization defines reproductive rights as follows:
Reproductive rights rest on ..., disability rights
The disability rights movement is a global social movement that seeks to secure equal opportunities and equal rights for all people with disabilities.
It is made up of organizations of disability activists, also known as disability advoc ..., patient rights and prisoners' rights. With increasing monitoring and the information society, information rights, such as the right to privacy
The right to privacy is an element of various legal traditions that intends to restrain governmental and private actions that threaten the privacy of individuals. Over 150 national constitutions mention the right to privacy. On 10 December 19 ... are becoming more important.
Some examples of groups whose rights are of particular concern include animals
Animals are multicellular, eukaryotic organisms in the biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals consume organic material, breathe oxygen, are able to move, can reproduce sexually, and go through an ontogenetic stage ..., and amongst humans
Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species of primate, characterized by bipedalism and exceptional cognitive skills due to a large and complex brain. This has enabled the development of advanced tools, cultu ..., groups such as children
A child ( : children) is a human being between the stages of birth and puberty, or between the developmental period of infancy and puberty. The legal definition of ''child'' generally refers to a minor, otherwise known as a person younger ... and youth
Youth is the time of life when one is young. The word, youth, can also mean the time between childhood and adulthood ( maturity), but it can also refer to one's peak, in terms of health or the period of life known as being a young adult. ..., parents
A parent is a caregiver of the offspring in their own species. In humans, a parent is the caretaker of a child (where "child" refers to offspring, not necessarily age). A ''biological parent'' is a person whose gamete resulted in a child, a male t ... (both mothers
A mother is the female parent of a child. A woman may be considered a mother by virtue of having given birth, by raising a child who may or may not be her biological offspring, or by supplying her ovum for fertilisation in the case of gestat ... and fathers' rights movement, fathers), and men
A man is an adult male human. Prior to adulthood, a male human is referred to as a boy (a male child or adolescent). Like most other male mammals, a man's genome usually inherits an X chromosome from the mother and a Y chro ... and women
A woman is an adult female human. Prior to adulthood, a female human is referred to as a girl (a female child or adolescent). The plural ''women'' is sometimes used in certain phrases such as " women's rights" to denote female humans rega ....
Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations among individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The branch of social science that studi ... plays an important role in developing or recognizing the above rights, and the discussion about which behaviors are included as "rights" is an ongoing political topic of importance. The concept of rights varies with political orientation. Positive rights such as a "right to medical care" are emphasized more often by left-leaning thinkers, while right-leaning thinkers place more emphasis on negative rights such as the "right to a fair trial".
Further, the term ''equality'' which is often bound up with the meaning of "rights" often depends on one's political orientation. Conservatives
Conservatism is a cultural, social, and political philosophy that seeks to promote and to preserve traditional institutions, practices, and values. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in relation to the culture and civilization ... and libertarians
Libertarianism (from french: libertaire, "libertarian"; from la, libertas, "freedom") is a political philosophy that upholds liberty as a core value. Libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and political freedom, and minimize the state's enc ... and advocates of free markets
In economics, a free market is an economic system in which the prices of goods and services are determined by supply and demand expressed by sellers and buyers. Such markets, as modeled, operate without the intervention of government or any ot ... often identify equality with equality of opportunity, and want equal and fair rules in the process of making things, while agreeing that sometimes these fair rules lead to unequal outcomes. In contrast, socialists
Socialism is a left-wing economic philosophy and movement encompassing a range of economic systems characterized by the dominance of social ownership of the means of production as opposed to private ownership. As a term, it describes th ... often identify equality with equality of outcome and see fairness when people have equal amounts of goods and services, and therefore think that people have a right to equal portions of necessities such as health care
Health care or healthcare is the improvement of health via the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, amelioration or cure of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in people. Health care is delivered by healt ... or economic assistance or housing
Housing, or more generally, living spaces, refers to the construction and assigned usage of houses or buildings individually or collectively, for the purpose of shelter. Housing ensures that members of society have a place to live, whethe ....
Philosophy (from , ) is the systematized study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence, reason, knowledge, values, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. ..., meta-ethics
In metaphilosophy and ethics, meta-ethics is the study of the nature, scope, and meaning of moral judgment. It is one of the three branches of ethics generally studied by philosophers, the others being normative ethics (questions of how one ou ... is the branch of ethics that seeks to understand the nature of ethical properties
Property is the ownership of land, resources, improvements or other tangible objects, or intellectual property.
Property may also refer to:
* Property (mathematics)
Philosophy and science
* Property (philosophy), in philosophy a ..., statements, attitudes, and judgments. Meta-ethics is one of the three branches of ethics generally recognized by philosophers
A philosopher is a person who practices or investigates philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=philosophos, meaning 'lover of wisdom'. The coining of the term has been attributed to the Greek th ..., the others being normative ethics
Normative ethics is the study of ethical behaviour and is the branch of philosophical ethics that investigates the questions that arise regarding how one ought to act, in a moral sense.
Normative ethics is distinct from meta-ethics in that t ... and applied ethics
Applied ethics refers to the practical aspect of moral considerations. It is ethics with respect to real-world actions and their moral considerations in the areas of private and public life, the professions, health, technology, law, and leadersh ....
While normative ethics addresses such questions as "What should one do?", thus endorsing some ethical evaluations and rejecting others, meta-ethics addresses questions such as "What ''is'' goodness?" and "How can we tell what is good from what is bad?", seeking to understand the nature of ethical properties and evaluations.
Rights ethics is an answer to the meta-ethical question of ''what normative ethics is concerned with'' (meta-ethics also includes a group of questions about how ethics comes to be known, true, etc. which is not directly addressed by rights ethics).
Rights ethics holds that normative ethics is concerned with rights. Alternative meta-ethical theories are that ethics is concerned with one of the following:
* Duties ( deontology
In moral philosophy, deontological ethics or deontology (from Greek: + ) is the normative ethical theory that the morality of an action should be based on whether that action itself is right or wrong under a series of rules and principles, ...)
Value or values may refer to:
Ethics and social
* Value (ethics) wherein said concept may be construed as treating actions themselves as abstract objects, associating value to them
** Values (Western philosophy) expands the notion of value bey ... ( axiology
Axiology (from Greek , ''axia'': "value, worth"; and , ''-logia'': "study of") is the philosophical study of value. It includes questions about the nature and classification of values and about what kinds of things have value. It is intimately ...)
* Virtue ( virtue ethics
Virtue ethics (also aretaic ethics, from Greek ἀρετή arete_(moral_virtue).html"_;"title="'arete_(moral_virtue)">aretḗ''_is_an_approach_to_ethics_that_treats_the_concept_of_virtue.html" ;"title="arete_(moral_virtue)">aretḗ''.html" ; ...)
* Consequences ( consequentialism
In ethical philosophy, consequentialism is a class of normative, teleological ethical theories that holds that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for judgment about the rightness or wrongness of that conduct. Thus, fr ..., e.g. utilitarianism
In ethical philosophy, utilitarianism is a family of normative ethical theories that prescribe actions that maximize happiness and well-being for all affected individuals.
Although different varieties of utilitarianism admit different char ...)
Rights ethics has had considerable influence on political and social thinking. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly that enshrines the rights and freedoms of all human beings. Drafted by a UN committee chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, i ... gives some concrete examples of widely accepted rights.
Some philosophers have criticised rights as
In metaphysics, ontology is the philosophical study of being, as well as related concepts such as existence, becoming, and reality.
Ontology addresses questions like how entities are grouped into categories and which of these entities exi ... dubious entities. For instance, although in favour of the extension of individual legal rights, the utilitarian
In ethical philosophy, utilitarianism is a family of normative ethical theories that prescribe actions that maximize happiness and well-being for all affected individuals.
Although different varieties of utilitarianism admit different charac ... philosopher Jeremy Bentham
Jeremy Bentham (; 15 February 1748 Old_Style_and_New_Style_dates">O.S._4_February_1747.html" ;"title="Old_Style_and_New_Style_dates.html" ;"title="nowiki/>Old Style and New Style dates">O.S. 4 February 1747">Old_Style_and_New_Style_dates.htm ... opposed the idea of natural law
Natural law ( la, ius naturale, ''lex naturalis'') is a system of law based on a close observation of human nature, and based on values intrinsic to human nature that can be deduced and applied independently of positive law (the express enacte ... and natural rights
Some philosophers distinguish two types of rights, natural rights and legal rights.
* Natural rights are those that are not dependent on the laws or customs of any particular culture or government, and so are ''universal'', '' fundamental'' a ..., calling them "nonsense upon stilts". Further, one can question the ability of rights to actually bring about justice for all.
The specific enumeration of rights has differed greatly in different periods of history. In many cases, the system of rights promulgated by one group has come into sharp and bitter conflict with that of other groups. In the political sphere, a place in which rights have historically been an important issue, constitutional provisions of various states sometimes address the question of who has what legal rights.
Historically, many notions of rights were
Authoritarianism is a political system characterized by the rejection of political plurality, the use of strong central power to preserve the political '' status quo'', and reductions in the rule of law, separation of powers, and democratic ... and hierarchical
A hierarchy (from Greek: , from , 'president of sacred rites') is an arrangement of items (objects, names, values, categories, etc.) that are represented as being "above", "below", or "at the same level as" one another. Hierarchy is an important ..., with different people granted different rights, and some having more rights than others. For instance, the right of a father to be respected by his son did not indicate a right of the son to receive something in return for that respect; and the divine right of kings
In European Christianity, the divine right of kings, divine right, or God's mandation is a political and religious doctrine of political legitimacy of a monarchy. It stems from a specific metaphysical framework in which a monarch is, befor ..., which permitted absolute power over subjects, did not leave much possibility for many rights for the subjects themselves. [
In contrast, modern conceptions of rights have often emphasized liberty
Liberty is the ability to do as one pleases, or a right or immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant (i.e. privilege). It is a synonym for the word freedom.
In modern politics, liberty is understood as the state of being free within society f ... and equality as among the most important aspects of rights, as was evident in the American and French
French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to:
* Something of, from, or related to France
** French language, which originated in France, and its various dialects and accents
** French people, a nation and ethnic group identified with France ... revolutions.
Important documents in the political history
Political history is the narrative and survey of political events, ideas, movements, organs of government, voters, parties and leaders. It is closely related to other fields of history, including diplomatic history, constitutional history, soci ... of rights include:
* The Persian Empire
The Achaemenid Empire or Achaemenian Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, , ), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. Based in Western Asia, it was contemporarily the largest e ... of ancient Iran
The history of Iran is intertwined with the history of a larger region known as Greater Iran, comprising the area from Anatolia in the west to the borders of Ancient India and the Syr Darya in the east, and from the Caucasus and the Eurasian Ste ... established unprecedented principles of human rights in the 6th century BC under Cyrus the Great
Cyrus II of Persia (; peo, 𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁 ), commonly known as Cyrus the Great, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, the first Persian empire. Schmitt Achaemenid dynasty (i. The clan and dynasty) Under his rule, the empire embraced .... After his conquest of Babylon
* sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠
* arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Bāḇel''
* syc, ܒܒܠ ''Bāḇel''
* grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn''
* he, בָּבֶל ''Bāvel''
* peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru''
* elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babi ... in 539 BC, the king issued the Cyrus cylinder
The Cyrus Cylinder is an ancient clay cylinder, now broken into several pieces, on which is written a declaration in Akkadian cuneiform script in the name of Persia's Achaemenid king Cyrus the Great. Kuhrt (2007), p. 70, 72 It dates from the 6th ..., discovered in 1879 and seen by some today as the first human rights document.
* The Constitution of Medina (622 AD; Arabia) instituted a number of rights for the Muslim, Jewish, camp followers and "believers" of Medina.
* '' Magna Carta
( Medieval Latin for "Great Charter of Freedoms"), commonly called (also ''Magna Charta''; "Great Charter"), is a royal charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215. First drafted b ...'' (1215; England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. It is separated from continental Europe ...) required the King of England
The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional form of government by which a hereditary sovereign reigns as the head of state of the United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies (the Baili ... to renounce certain rights and respect certain legal procedures, and to accept that the will of the king could be bound by law
Law is a set of rules that are created and are enforceable by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', 90. with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate. It has been vari ..., after King John promised his barons he would follow the "law of the land". While ''Magna Carta'' was originally a set of rules that the king had to follow, and mainly protected the property of aristocratic landowners, today it is seen as the basis of certain rights for ordinary people, such as the right of due process.
* The Declaration of Arbroath
The Declaration of Arbroath ( la, Declaratio Arbroathis; sco, Declaration o Aiberbrothock; gd, Tiomnadh Bhruis) is the name usually given to a letter, dated 6 April 1320 at Arbroath, written by Scottish barons and addressed to Pope John X ... (1320; Scotland
Scotland (, ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a border with England to the southeast and is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean t ...) established the right of the people to choose a head of state (see popular sovereignty
Popular sovereignty is the principle that the authority of a state and its government are created and sustained by the consent of its people, who are the source of all political power. Popular sovereignty, being a principle, does not imply any p ...).
* The Henrician Articles
The Henrician Articles or King Henry's Articles ( Polish: ''Artykuły henrykowskie'', Latin: ''Articuli Henriciani'') were a permanent contract between the "Polish nation" (the szlachta, or nobility, of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth) and a ... (1573; Poland-Lithuania) or King Henry's Articles were a permanent contract that stated the fundamental principles of governance and constitutional law in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, including the rights of the nobility to elect the king, to meet in parliament whose approval was required to levy taxes and declare war or peace, to religious liberty and the right to rebel in case the king transgressed against the laws of the republic or the rights of the nobility.
* The Bill of Rights
A bill of rights, sometimes called a declaration of rights or a charter of rights, is a list of the most important rights to the citizens of a country. The purpose is to protect those rights against infringement from public officials and pri ... (1689; England) declared that Englishmen
The English people are an ethnic group and nation native to England, who speak the English language, a West Germanic language, and share a common history and culture. The English identity is of Anglo-Saxon origin, when they were known in O ..., as embodied by Parliament
In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: representing the electorate, making laws, and overseeing the government via hearings and inquiries. ..., possess certain civil and political rights; the Claim of Right (1689; Scotland) was similar but distinct.
* The Virginia Declaration of Rights
The Virginia Declaration of Rights was drafted in 1776 to proclaim the inherent rights of men, including the right to reform or abolish "inadequate" government. It influenced a number of later documents, including the United States Declarati ... (1776) by George Mason
George Mason (October 7, 1792) was an American planter, politician, Founding Father, and delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787, one of the three delegates present who refused to sign the Constitution. His writings, including ... declared the inherent natural rights and separation of powers
Separation of powers refers to the division of a state's government into branches, each with separate, independent powers and responsibilities, so that the powers of one branch are not in conflict with those of the other branches. The typica ....
* The United States Declaration of Independence
The United States Declaration of Independence, formally The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen States of America, is the pronouncement and founding document adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at Pennsylvania State House ... (1776) succinctly defined the rights of man as including, but not limited to, " Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" which later influenced " liberté, égalité, fraternité
''Liberté, égalité, fraternité'' (), French for "liberty, equality, fraternity", is the national motto of France and the Republic of Haiti, and is an example of a tripartite motto. Although it finds its origins in the French Revolutio ..." (liberty, equality, fraternity) in France. The phrase can also be found in Chapter III, Article 13 of the 1947 Constitution of Japan
The Constitution of Japan (Shinjitai: , Kyūjitai: , Hepburn: ) is the constitution of Japan and the supreme law in the state. Written primarily by American civilian officials working under the Allied occupation of Japan, the constitution ..., and in President Ho Chi Minh
(: ; born ; 19 May 1890 – 2 September 1969), commonly known as (' Uncle Hồ'), also known as ('President Hồ'), (' Old father of the people') and by other aliases, was a Vietnamese revolutionary and statesman. He served as P ...'s 1945 declaration of independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam
North Vietnam, officially the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV; vi, Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa), was a socialist state supported by the Soviet Union (USSR) and the People's Republic of China (PRC) in Southeast Asia that existed .... An alternative phrase "life, liberty and property", is found in the Declaration of Colonial Rights, a resolution of the First Continental Congress
The First Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from 12 of the 13 British colonies that became the United States. It met from September 5 to October 26, 1774, at Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after the British Nav .... Also, Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly that enshrines the rights and freedoms of all human beings. Drafted by a UN committee chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, i ... reads, "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person".
* The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen
The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (french: Déclaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen de 1789, links=no), set by France's National Constituent Assembly in 1789, is a human civil rights document from the French Revolu ... (1789; France), one of the fundamental documents of the French Revolution
The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France that began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended with the formation of the French Consulate in November 1799. Many of its ideas are consid ..., defined a set of individual rights and collective rights of the people.
* The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1785; United States), written by Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. He was previously the nati ... in 1779, was a document that asserted the right of man to form a personal relationship with God free from interference by the state.
* The United States Bill of Rights
The United States Bill of Rights comprises the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. Proposed following the often bitter 1787–88 debate over the ratification of the Constitution and written to address the objections rai ... (1789–1791; United States), the first ten amendments of the United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It superseded the Articles of Confederation, the nation's first constitution, in 1789. Originally comprising seven articles, it delineates the nati ... specified rights of individuals in which government could not interfere, including the rights of free assembly, freedom of religion, trial by jury, and the right to keep and bear arms.
* The Constitution of Poland-Lithuania (1791; Poland-Lithuania) was the first constitution in Europe, and second in the world. It built upon previous Polish law documents such as the Henrician Articles, as well as the US constitution
A constitution is the aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation or other type of entity and commonly determine how that entity is to be governed.
When these pr ..., and it too, specified many rights.
* The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly that enshrines the rights and freedoms of all human beings. Drafted by a UN committee chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, i ... (1948) is an overarching set of standards by which governments, organisations and individuals would measure their behaviour towards each other. The preamble declares that the "...recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom
Freedom is understood as either having the ability to act or change without constraint or to possess the power and resources to fulfill one's purposes unhindered. Freedom is often associated with liberty and autonomy in the sense of "giving o ..., justice
Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many differing viewpoints and perspective ... and peace
Peace is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility and violence. In a social sense, peace is commonly used to mean a lack of conflict (such as war) and freedom from fear of violence between individuals or groups. ... in the world..."
* The European Convention on Human Rights
The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR; formally the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) is an international convention to protect human rights and political freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by ... (1950; Europe) was adopted under the auspices of the Council of Europe
The Council of Europe (CoE; french: Conseil de l'Europe, ) is an international organisation founded in the wake of World War II to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe. Founded in 1949, it has 46 member states, with a p ... to protect human right
Human rights are moral principles or normsJames Nickel, with assistance from Thomas Pogge, M.B.E. Smith, and Leif Wenar, 13 December 2013, Stanford Encyclopedia of PhilosophyHuman Rights Retrieved 14 August 2014 for certain standards of hu ...s and fundamental freedoms.
* The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is a multilateral treaty that commits nations to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, including the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freed ... (1966), a follow-up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly that enshrines the rights and freedoms of all human beings. Drafted by a UN committee chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, i ..., concerns civil and political rights
Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from infringement by governments, social organizations, and private individuals. They ensure one's entitlement to participate in the civil and political life o ....
* The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (GA) on 16 December 1966 through GA. Resolution 2200A (XXI), and came in force from 3 January 197 ... (1966), another follow-up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly that enshrines the rights and freedoms of all human beings. Drafted by a UN committee chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, i ..., concerns economic, social and cultural rights
Economic, social and cultural rights, (ESCR) are socio-economic human rights, such as the right to education, right to housing, right to an adequate standard of living, right to health, victims' rights and the right to science and culture ....
* The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
The ''Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms'' (french: Charte canadienne des droits et libertés), often simply referred to as the ''Charter'' in Canada, is a bill of rights entrenched in the Constitution of Canada, forming the first part ... (1982; Canada) was created to protect the rights of Canadian
Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, many (or all) of these connections exist and are collectively the source of ... citizens from actions and policies of all levels of government.
* The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union
The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (CFR) enshrines certain political, social, and economic rights for European Union (EU) citizens and residents into EU law. It was drafted by the European Convention and solemnly procla ... (2000) is one of the most recent proposed legal instrument
Legal instrument is a legal term of art that is used for any formally executed written document that can be formally attributed to its author, records and formally expresses a legally enforceable act, process, or contractual duty, obligation, or ...s concerning human rights.
* Outline of rights
Animal rights is the philosophy according to which many or all sentient animals have moral worth that is independent of their utility for humans, and that their most basic interests—such as avoiding suffering—should be afforded the s ...
* Contractual rights
* Rule according to higher law
* Equal rights (disambiguation), various meanings
* Exclusive rights
* Freedom (political), Freedom
* Freedom of religion
* Freedom of speech
* Freedom of the press
* History of citizenship
* Social contract
* Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld
* Right to food
* Right to housing
* Right to property
* Property rights (economics)
* Right to water
* Right to an adequate standard of living
* Right to health
* Right to social security
* Amnesty International
* Human Rights Watch
* United States Commission on Civil Rights
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
article by Leif Wenar.
International Freedom of Expression Exchange
Comparative Analysis of Human Rights
Concepts in ethics
Theories of law
Legal doctrines and principles