Why respect for freedom cannot explain the content and grounds of human rights: a response to Valentini

Autores: Thunder, David
Título de la revista: POLITICAL THEORY
ISSN: 0090-5917
Volumen: 42
Número: 4
Páginas: 490 - 497
Fecha de publicación: 2014
In a recent article in Political Theory (40, 5: 573¿601), entitled ¿Human Rights, Freedom, and Political Authority,¿ Laura Valentini proposes a ¿freedom-centered¿ account of human rights. On this account, ¿human rights are derived from the universal right to freedom, namely each person¿s innate right to a sphere of agency within which to pursue her ends and goals without being subject to the will of others¿ (574). In spite of its prima facie appeal, I argue that Valentini¿s theory does not do a good job at explaining some of our settled convictions about the content of human rights and that she offers an implausibly restrictive view of our reasons for respecting human rights. I conclude by very briefly presenting the main elements of a broader perfectionist and dignitarian account of human rights, which seems more consistent with our settled convictions on these matters.