PUBLISHED:November 04, 2009

John Tasioulas, "What is a Human Right?"

Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2009
5:15 pm | Room 4042

Duke Law School

John Tasioulas explores the orthodox interpretation of the nature of human rights in his lecture, "What is a Human Right?".


What is it that we are talking about when we talk about human rights? The lecture defends an orthodox interpretation of the nature of human rights, according to which they are moral rights possessed by all human beings simply in virtue of their humanity. This view is contrasted with two rival conceptions that have gained in popularity in recent years: the reductive view, which identifies human rights with certain human interests, and the political view, which conceives of them as essentially triggers for international intervention or concern.

John Tasioulas is a Reader in Moral and Legal Philosophy at the Univesity of Oxford and a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He holds a BA in Philosophy and an LLB from the University of Melbourne and a DPhil from the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. His research is in moral, legal and political philosophy, with an emphasis in recent years on philosophical questions about human rights, international law and punishment. He is the co‑editor (with Samantha Besson) of The Philosophy of International Law (OUP, forthcoming 2010). Other recent and forthcoming publications include: 'Punishment and Repentance', Philosophy (2006), 'Repentance and the Liberal State', Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law (2007), 'The Moral Reality of Human Rights', in T. Pogge (ed), Freedom from Poverty as a Human Right: Who Owes What to Whom? (OUP, 2007) and 'Taking Rights out of Human Rights', Ethics (forthcoming, 2009). He is on research leave during 2008‑10, funded by a British Academy Research Development Award, engaged in a project on the philosophy of human rights.


Open to public.