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The Limits of Ethics in International RelationsNatural Law, Natural Rights, and Human Rights in Transition$
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David Boucher

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199203529

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199203529.001.0001

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Natural Law, the Law of Nations, and the Transition to Natural Rights

Natural Law, the Law of Nations, and the Transition to Natural Rights

(p.69) 3 Natural Law, the Law of Nations, and the Transition to Natural Rights
The Limits of Ethics in International Relations


Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the early modern conceptions of natural law and its relation to the Law of Nations and natural rights. Evidence suggests that the existence of the Law of Nations was derived from the law of nature and its customary practice was prescriptive in character. However, voluntary Law of Nations is not necessarily derived from or sanctioned by natural law and its customary basis is believed to be unrelated to the rationalist basis of the law of nature. The chapter also examines the relation between the objective and subjective rights, and suggests that the former are rights derived from natural law while the latter are not exclusively related to modern natural rights.

Keywords:   natural law, Law of Nations, natural rights, objective rights, subjective rights

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