Human Rights laws
Justifications and how they can fail
•Rights holder and whatever it is that they have a right to
•Having a right to vote means you are able to vote for anything
•Right of free speech means being able to speak freely
•Right of subsistence is the right of being able to feed yourself
•Right of education is between you and the freedom to become educated
•This relation is usually called a moral guarentee
•Human rights are ethical entitlements
o Right-holders which are humans have a capability
• The substance/scope/object of that right
• What it is a right to
•Moral guarantee guarantees the wrongness of depriving anyone of that capability (by
action or inaction
So: Having a right=/= enjoying a right
o Violated rights still exist as standards
•They are real even when they are not realized, they play a role as standards for what we
ought to realize
•People are bound to respect free speech
Properties of Human Rights
o Independent of legal or other authority
•High priority, mandatory, not discretionary
o "trump" other interests
Cannot choose when to protect or ignore them
o HR are real and call for realization
•Call for social practices to "realize" them
o Respect (Not violating them)
•Question of the day:
o What's the tole of ethical justification in Human rights?
o What is ethical justification?
o When does ethical justification succeed and when does it fail?
Role of Ethical Justification
•A human right is:
The moral right of a capability
•What's guarenteed: wrongness
Two ways it can be "real"
Whether or not it's realized o "To be is to be justified"
• Which justifications?
o Why is supressing free speech wrong?
• Why are these answers unsatisfactory?
o The law says so
o The emperor says so
o We don't like letting that happen around here
• Why is supressing free speech wrong?
o Not independent enough, should not depend on
• Secular authority
• Religious authority
• Likes and dislikes
• Free speech should be universal
• About what ought to be, not just what is
• There is a right to X -> it is wrong for anyone to be deprived of X
• Not based on authority
• Not just: how we do things
• Rather: what must be done because doing otherwise is wrong, not just for us but f