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Human Rights and Business Ethics

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Human rights and global business; Human rights responsibilities of corporations


The phrase “human rights” commonly refers to the rights that all human beings have simply in virtue of being human (Griffin 2008). The idea is rooted in the notion of “natural rights,” which in turn is grounded in the belief that ethics is immanent and, at least to an extent, objective and universal in nature. This belief has been characteristic of several religious and spiritual traditions since ancient times (e.g., God-given rights in Abrahamic religions, laws of Nature in Stoicism). For the better part of the human history, however, natural rights were understood as being unequally distributed among people, as is exemplified by the plethora of kings throughout history who inherited the crown by reference to their divine right to rule. The Enlightenment period secularized the notion of natural rights and conceptualized the idea of human rights that every human being is entitled to...

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Correspondence to David Birchall .

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Birchall, D., Shadnam, M. (2021). Human Rights and Business Ethics. In: Poff, D.C., Michalos, A.C. (eds) Encyclopedia of Business and Professional Ethics. Springer, Cham.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-23514-1

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-23514-1

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