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18:00 - 19:15 19 January 2012

Inaugural Lecture: Towards a Philosophy of Human Rights


Cruciform Lecture Theatre 1 | Cruciform Building (link Map)
Gower Street | London | WC1E 6BT | United Kingdom

Open to: Academic | Alumni | Public | Student
Ticketing: Open

Speaker information

Professor John Tasioulas, Quain Professor of Jurisprudence, UCL Faculty of Laws, John Tasioulas has been Quain Professor of Jurisprudence in the Faculty of Laws, University College London, since January 1st, 2011. He has published on a wide range of topics in moral, legal and political philosophy. His work has appeared in journals such as Ethics, European Journal of International Law, European Journal of Philosophy, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, and the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society. His more recent research, which has been supported by grants from the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy, has focussed on philosophical issues in human rights, punishment and international law.

In recent decades, the discourse of human rights has come to play an increasingly prominent role in our public life, both within the law and beyond. Yet the nature of human rights, and the grounds on which we are entitled to assert their existence, remain matters of deep controversy. Is the idea of a human right fundamentally continuous with the older notion of a natural right, or does it represent a distinctively post-1948 innovation? Are human rights best understood in terms of some political function, such as benchmarks of governmental legitimacy or triggers for intervention? Are they grounded in the interests of their possessors, or do they have a basis that is independent of any conception of the human good? The lecture will try to show how philosophical reflection can shed light on these questions, responding in part to recent philosophical work on human rights.


Liz Carter
=44 (0)20 7679 8787 | liz.carter@ucl.ac.uk


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Law and justice