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"Human rights are descendants of natural rights."

Michael Zuckert, a professor at the University of Notre Dame, participated in the Ethics & Society Forum at the University of Notre Dame. Institute for Culture and Society

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PHOTO: Carlota Cortés
13/11/14 16:07 Carlota Cortés

"Human rights are the offspring of natural rights," said at the Institute for Culture and Society Michael Zuckert, a professor at the University of Notre Dame. The expert gave a session at the III Ethics & Society Forum under the degree scroll 'Launching Liberalism: Philosophic Anthropology and the Leviathan State' and a lecture at the project 'Religion and Civil SocietyFrom Christian Aristotelianism to Modernity: Locke and the Doctrine of Natural Rights'.

In his opinion, one of the reasons why people began to speak of human rights and not natural rights "was the emergence of skeptical thinking about nature as source of norms for human beings".

For this professor of political science, the main difference between the two lies in language: "When we talk about human rights, we don't have a very clear conception of what their basis is and we don't know exactly what they are.

Natural rights and development of the countries

From agreement with Professor Zuchert, both natural rights and human rights play an important role in the development of countries. As an example, he mentioned that John Locke, an important natural rights philosopher, "was one of the first authors who strongly advocated anti-imperialism: he argued that no country has the right to conquer another," he stressed.

However, he pointed out that "in general terms, the position of natural rights does not say that a natural right obliges attend to less developed countries, but it should be noted that they are not the only source of rights to make good policies".

Michael Zuckert was one of the speakers at this year's Ethics and Society Forum. The goal of this initiative is threefold: it aims to be a vehicle to disseminate the work of the ICS among the entire university community, to promote interdisciplinary dialogue and to encourage ICS researchers to receive feedback from other experts on the work they develop. The activity is open to researchers, professors and students of postgraduate program from all over the campus.