Human Rights and the Minimally Good Life

Res Philosophica 90 (3):413-438 (2013)
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Abstract

All people have human rights and, intuitively, there is a close connection between human rights, needs, and autonomy. The two main theories about the natureand value of human rights often fail to account for this connection. Interest theories, on which rights protect individuals’ important interests, usually fail to capturethe close relationship between human rights and autonomy; autonomy is not constitutive of the interests human rights protect. Will theories, on which human rights protect individuals’ autonomy, cannot explain why the nonautonomous have a human right to meet their needs. This paper argues that it is possible to account for the close connection between human rights, needs, and autonomy if human rights at least protect individuals’ ability to live minimally good lives. It argues that people need whatever will enable them to live such lives and autonomy is partly constitutive of such a life. This argument also has importantimplications for some other key debates in the human rights literature

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Nicole Hassoun
State University of New York at Binghamton

Citations of this work

Good Enough? The Minimally Good Life Account of the Basic Minimum.Nicole Hassoun - 2022 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (2):330-341.
The human right to health.Nicole Hassoun - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (4):275-283.
The Human Right to Health: A Defense.Nicole Hassoun - 2019 - Journal of Social Philosophy 51 (2):158-179.
A Human Right to What Kind of Medicine?Kathryn Muyskens - 2023 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 48 (6):577-590.

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