Michael J. Perry (Emory University School of Law) has posted two papers on Human Rights, What is a ‘Human Right’? and The Grounds of Human Rights,  to SSRN.

From the first abstract:

Talk about “rights” – “rights-talk” – is ubiquitous. However, as Lloyd Weinreb has observed: “Not the least of our difficulties when we think about rights is that, despite their ubiquity in our discourse, it is unclear just what a right is.” A clarification of rights-talk is therefore in order. In our time, the principal rights-talk is about “human” rights. The principal question that engages me in this paper: In the context of human-rights-talk, what are we talking about when, today, we talk about “rights”? about “human” rights? about “international” human rights?

From the second abstract:

“All members of the human family . . . should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” So says Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). But WHY: What reason or reasons do we – “all members of the human family” – have for “act[ing] towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood”?…What reason or reasons do we, the citizens of one country, have for making it our business how the government of every other country treats its citizens and others?


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