Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Mortimer Sellers, Stephan Kirste

Human Rights and Justice

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6730-0_907-1

Introduction

This entry explores the relationship of human rights to the classical understanding of justice as the constant and perpetual determination to give to others their due (see Aquinas 2002, II–II, q. 58, a. 1; Justinian 1904, I.I.10). Thus understood, justice is a virtue of human actions and not primarily of social institutions or structures (cf. Rawls 1971, 3). This situates rights as entailments of relationships of justice, such that what one person is due to give to another is what the other has a right to. Human rights correspond both to natural duties of justice owed to all persons and to duties of justice specified for common good owed to others in one’s community. The willingness of modern human rights law to recognize rights to commit injustices is criticized as abandoning the deep conceptual relationship between human rights and justice.

What Is Due to Each and All

Our actions make manifest the source of those actions, the responsible person who intends and is the...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of LawQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • John Tasioulas
    • 1
  • Kristin Albrecht
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of PhilosophyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Department of Social Sciences and Economics, Philosophy of Law and Social PhilosophySalzburg UniversitySalzburgAustria