In what way can the concept of "natural rights" be made independent of?

"God"? Natural rights are said to come from God, but if you don't believe in God, doesn't nature still exist? If your answer is yes, then how would you describe natural, inalienable rights as something independent of God?

Update:

To livesinavan: if my right to free speech (as only one example) is too "abstract" to be "sullied by realization.", then how do I come to have it--if it is not "realized"? And to both you and Joe, natural inalienable rights have nothing to do with day-to-day morality, such as getting up at 2:30am to take care of the baby. Rather, we are speaking about universals, not about specifics. The specifics are addressed in social contracts.

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  • 6 years ago

    The notion of 'rights' is vain imagination!

    What is, IS! You have no 'right' to anything other than what Is!

    And the notion of that as a 'right' is absurd!

    A 'right' is something that cannot be taken from you.

    Everything that you have and are can be taken!

    The very next moment!

    'Rights'?

    You 'wish'!

    Existence = the complete Universe = Nature = Reality = Consciousness = Truth = Love = 'Self!' = God = Brahman = Tao = ... etc....

    ALL INCLUSIVE!!

    'One'!

    There IS only One (unchanging, ALL inclusive) Reality!

    Rights? *__-

  • 6 years ago

    Well, what is a "right"? To some scholars, like Hobbes and Rawls, it is a part of a social contract that we agree to or implicitly inherent upon birth.

    The notion of "rights" can be propped up by religious ideologies if you see them as entitlements given by god. MLK Jr., for instance, saw human rights under a religious lens.

    The problem with "rights" as a concept, whether they be natural or inalienable or otherwise stated, is that they are too abstract to be, as John Dewey states, "sullied by realization." Meaning, they are not concrete enough, or they are not local to our experiences or situated within a context.

    If you lose the presupposition that rights matter, or that "rights" talk is where we should be pitching the conversation about living together as humans, then your question becomes meaningless, and the confusions you present become beside the point.

    Do you need a conception of human rights to know that you should take care of your crying baby at 2:30 in the morning? I think we just need to know the baby, know about her suffering, and have what it takes to get out of bed to take care of her. I don't need some abstract conception of rights, or natural rights, or inalienable rights to have a sense of morality in everyday life. Nor do I need a conception about "good science" or "empiricism" or "the study of moral judgments." You know what I mean?

  • 6 years ago

    I question whether or not such things actually exist, but if they do, then I would define them as rights that are inherent to the morality of the human animal, invariant of our differing social structures, based on the evolution of our species. It would be those moral judgments that any society couldn't help but make if it calls itself just given the nature of humanity.

    However, I'm not sure there are any rights that meet such a definition. Our present society can judge other societies as immoral, but that doesn't mean that it is in any way inherent to humanity that the rights that we judge necessary to make a moral society must have been so judged.

    I look at that as an empirical question though, not a philosophical one. Philosophy defines the parameters of the question, but it is ultimately one to be answered by science. Scientists study how moral judgments are formed and can answer the question of whether or not some of them are inherent and inevitable. The science has not yet developed to the point where it CAN answer those questions, but it is coming along very well progressing toward that point.

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