This chapter discusses naturalistic theory to express the idea of a human right. Naturalistic views conceive human rights as objects that inherit their main features from the natural rights found in European political and legal thought in the early modern period. Human rights are rights possessed by all human beings (at all times and in all places), simply in virtue of their humanity. This idea is open to several interpretations which have at least two elements in common. First, human rights are distinct from positive rights — that is, rights actually recognized in a society, or anyway enacted in law. Second, human rights belong to human beings ‘as such’ or ‘simply in virtue of their humanity.’ This means that all human beings are entitled to claim human rights. Naturalistic conceptions regard human rights as having a character and basis that can be fully comprehended without reference to their embodiment and role in any public doctrine or practice.
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