San Diego Law Review

Document Type



My discussion of the morality of human rights in this Article presupposes that the reader is familiar with the internationalization of human rights: the growing international recognition and protection, in the period since the end of the Second World War, of certain rights as human rights. The Appendix to this Article is for readers not familiar with the internationalization of human rights. I begin, in the first Part of the Article, by explaining what the term human right means in the context of the internationalization of human rights. I also explain both the sense in which some human rights are, in some legal systems, “legal” rights and the sense in which all human rights are “moral” rights. Then, in the longer second Part, I turn to the inquiry that is my principal concern in this Article: Why should one take seriously the imperative that serves, in the morality of human rights, as the normative ground of human rights? That is, what reason or reasons does one have, if any, to live one’s life in accord with the imperative to “act towards all human beings in a spirit of brotherhood”?