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        finding the basis of human rights in our nature
gary e. davis
January 6, 2008

A right is an entitlement to something deserved (some just dessert). One has the right R (or the right to R) inasmuch as one deserves R.

It would be odd to say that a flower deserves to grow, though someone might have some remedial motive for saying that (relative to bad gardening). Growing is just what flowers do, obviously. Denying this is just silly (if not horticulturally nihilistic—as if there is to be no flower). It’s in the nature of living potential that it grows (given opportunity). That’s life.

The potential of human life is intelligent growth (self-actualization or self-actualizing intelligence), regardless of recognition of this by an other (i.e., natural potential isn’t dependent on recognition for its naturally autopoietic disposition). The other cannot entitle human potential to self-actualization; it’s already “granted” by evolution. (But the other may control opportunity—or control enablative resources). Self-actualization is what humans primarily do. Relative to the language of rights, a person deserves, by nature, to thrive.

Humanity, like nature, is ecological (intelligently so, in the human case), which anthropological approaches to human ecology detail. Humanity aggregately flourishes relative to its degree of efficacious individuations. That’s the substance of humanity that constitutes the ecology. Only by enabling the humanity of the ecology can the ecology of humanity flourish. This is always done relative to individual potentials and opportunities.

On the one hand (holistically thinking), duty of care by valid authority toward (for the sake of) the ecology of humanity is implied by the validity of that authority, so instituted by due process in the ecology (which is just a holistic allusion to valid politics), which is reflected by vested authority’s asserted and trusted potential for enabling the ecology. Valid authority includes a prevailing duty of care in its genuine self-understanding. (Why? Good question.)

On the other hand (in particular), duty of care toward constituents’ human potential is entailed by the humanity pertaining to valid authority (which derives from the ecological authority of humanity, a notion calling for explication, of course).

A human right is a remedial entitlement of one’s humanity to have valid authority appropriately yield to (thus give appropriate recognition to, if not appreciation, of) decent enabling of and fair opportunity for one’s humanity. Human rights evince from the inherent deservedness of—one’s natural potential for—freedom. Specific rights that are normally found in lists of human rights (re: basic needs) are instrumental to the overriding nature of human thriving “granted” by our evolution.

humanistic union as evolving project


    Be fair. © 2014, g. e. davis.