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Abstract

The orthodox conception of human rights holds that human rights are moral rights possessed by all human beings simply in virtue of their humanity. In recent years, advocates of a ‘political’ conception of human rights have criticized this view on the grounds that it overlooks the distinctive political function performed by human rights. This article evaluates the arguments of two such critics, John Rawls and Joseph Raz, who characterize the political function of human rights as that of potential triggers for intervention by one society against another.