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What is a Human Right?

What is that that we are talking about when we talk about human rights? John Tasioulas, a Reader in Moral and Legal Philosophy at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, defends an orthodox interpretation of the nature of human rights, according to which they are moral rights possessed by all human beings simply in virtue of their humanity. This view is contrasted with two rival conceptions that have gained in popularity in recent years: the reductive view, which identifies human rights with certain human interests, and the political view, which conceives of them as essentially triggers for international intervention or concern.

Tasioulas holds a BA in Philosophy and an LLB from the University of Melbourne and a DPhil from the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. His research is in moral, legal and political philosophy, with an emphasis in recent years on philosophical questions about human rights, international law and punishment. He is the co-editor (with Samantha Besson) of The Philosophy of International Law (OUP, forthcoming 2010).

Sponsored by Duke Law School’s Center for International and Comparative Law and cosponsored by the Duke Human Rights Center

For more information, please contact Erin Daniel, (919) 613-7187, daniel@law.duke.edu



November 10, 2009
4:15 pm - 6:00 pm


Duke Law School
Room 4042 + Google Map