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Ιστορία και Πολιτική

Ιστορία και Πολιτική

Πέμπτη, 25 Ιουνίου 2015

THE THEORY OF NATURAL RIGHTS


According to John Locke's political philosophy

by Stavroula Fountanopoulou



A number of times throughout history, tyranny has stimulated breakthrough thinking about liberty. This was certainly the case in England with the mid-seventeenth-century era of repression, rebellion, and civil war. There was a tremendous outpouring of political pamphlets and tracts. At this point of history the theory of natural rights became very popular.

A definition of natural rights

            Natural rights are the pre-political rights individuals possess in the absence of established political authority, that is in the state of nature. The modern idea of natural rights grew out of the ancient and medieval doctrines of natural law, i.e., the belief that people, as creatures of nature and God, should live their lives and organize their society on the basis of rules and precepts laid down by nature or God. With the growth of the idea of individualism, especially in the 17th cent., natural law doctrines were modified to stress the fact that individuals, because they are natural beings, have rights that cannot be violated by anyone or by any society. Different versions of this argument were generated by different lists of natural rights and different conceptions of the state of nature. Perhaps the most famous formulation of this doctrine is found in the writings of John Locke.

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