Topical Discussion: The Basis of Rights

Our start time is out of the ordinary for us.

6:45 social time

7:00 topical talk and discussion

8:15 a little more social time

The topic is "The Basis of Rights."  Stephen Simon, our speaker, sends the following:

"Most people take it for granted that we have certain rights, but what is the basis of those rights? How we think about where rights come from has a direct impact on how we interpret the meaning of specific rights, which is crucial to so many contemporary controversies. The question I would like to explore is whether rights are rooted in things that are unique to our particular country or community (such as American traditions), or, rather, in universal considerations (such as traits that all human beings share no matter where they live)."

Stephen A. Simon is Associate Professor of Political Science and the Program in Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law (PPEL) at the University of Richmond. His teaching and research lie principally in the areas of constitutional law and political philosophy. His recently published book, Universal Rights and the Constitution, examines the tensions between universal and more uniquely American understandings of cherished rights: http://www.amazon.com/Universal-Rights-Constitution-American-Constitutionalism/dp/1438451857

Please note we are at the North Park Library for this one.

You can bring food if you like.  Bring some to share, if you'd like.  Napkins, plates, beverages, forks, and cups will be provided.


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  • Jack

    The discussion ended with a suggestion to also consider man's innate negative traits and how they might hinder basic rights. I stumbled on this article on human aggressiveness which might be encouraging to some.
    http://www.alfiekohn.org/miscellaneous/aggression.htm

    1 · May 21

  • Bryan T.

    Dr. Simon was an excellent speaker and guest discussant.

    2 · May 21

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