Human Rights as Fundamental Conditions for a Good Life

In The Right to Be Loved. Oxford University Press USA (2015)
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Abstract

What grounds human rights? How do we determine that something is a genuine human right? This chapter offers a new answer: human beings have human rights to the fundamental conditions for pursuing a good life. The fundamental conditions for pursuing a good life are certain goods, capacities, and options that human beings qua human beings need whatever else they qua individuals might need in order to pursue a characteristically good human life. This chapter explains how this Fundamental Conditions Approach is better than James Griffin’s Agency Approach as well as Martha Nussbaum’s Central Capabilities Approach. It also shows how it can be compatible with the increasingly popular Political Conceptions of human rights defended by John Rawls, Charles Beitz, and Joseph Raz.

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S. Matthew Liao
New York University