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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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Slavery and Racism in Natural Law and Natural Rights

Slavery and Racism in Natural Law and Natural Rights

(p.187) 7 Slavery and Racism in Natural Law and Natural Rights
The Limits of Ethics in International Relations


Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the issue of racism and slavery in the context of natural rights and natural law. It suggests that advocates and critics of universal rights could not be lined-up into the pro- and anti-slavery camps. This is because many of those who fought for universal rights made them conditional, and Indians and blacks were deemed by many not to meet these conditions. Though subscription to and mention of Aristotle's belief in natural slavery arises from time to time, it was generally rejected, and those who believe in the inferiority of non-whites do not necessarily subscribe to slavery.

Keywords:   slavery, racism, natural rights, natural law, Aristotle, universal rights, Indians, blacks

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