Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Law and Philosophy Book Chapters and Sections
Title: Human Rights as Individualistically Justified: A Defence
Author(s): Cruft, Rowan
Contact Email:
Editor(s): Brooks, T
Citation: Cruft R (2015) Human Rights as Individualistically Justified: A Defence. In: Brooks T (ed.) Current Controversies in Political Philosophy. Current Controversies in Philosophy. London: Routledge, pp. 45-62.
Keywords: human rights
Issue Date: Jul-2015
Date Deposited: 14-Jun-2016
Series/Report no.: Current Controversies in Philosophy
Abstract: In this chapter, I assume that human rights animate and underlie human rights practice, rather than being defined or created by it. If this is correct, then what exactly are human rights so conceived? Some take them to be moral rights protecting particular substantive values distinctive of our humanity, such as agency or human needs or basic human interests. Others take them to be moral rights with a distinctive political function, such as rights whose violation legitimates external intervention within a sovereign state. In this essay, I develop an alternative suggestion: human rights are distinctive because they are individualistically justified. That is, a given human being's human rights are - unlike her other moral rights - grounded primarily by what they do for her independently of whether they serve others. I propose this as at least a necessary condition for something's being a human right in the relevant pre-conventional sense, and I defend the view against criticisms. I see my account as an improvement on and replacement for claims that some particular value (e.g. agency) is ‘the' substantive human value that human rights protect.
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. Publisher policy allows this work to be made available in this repository. Published by Routledge in Current Controversies in Political Philosophy, ed. Thom Brooks. The original publication is available at:

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Human Rights as Individualistically Justified.pdfFulltext - Accepted Version208.98 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

This item is protected by original copyright

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

The metadata of the records in the Repository are available under the CC0 public domain dedication: No Rights Reserved

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.