This introductory chapter explains the coverage of this book, which is to examine the role of natural law, natural rights, and human rights in the ethical limits of international relations. It argues that though natural law and natural rights and human rights are conceptually distinct, they are related to each other as part of the same historical process by which one turns into the other. The book contends that natural law and natural rights are far more in harmony with each other than most commentators are prepared to admit, and that natural rights and human rights are far more conceptually distinct than is often maintained.
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