chapter  Two
On Justifying Human Rights
ByJohn-Stewart Gordon
Pages 23

This chapter is a contribution to the philosophy of human rights and in particular to the vital issue of how to justify them. In the first and second part, I give a brief depiction of the nature of human rights and examine four different approaches to justifying human rights: the natural rights approach, the divine rights approach, the fundamental interests approach, and the personal autonomy approach. The third part broadly outlines and examines a novel approach, which can be called the rational rights approach to human rights, and is based on a modified version of Kant’s notion of rationality and Rawls’s idea of the veil of ignorance. The final part defends the rational rights approach against some main objections.