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Module THE EMERGENCE OF THE CONCEPT OF RIGHTS

Module code: PH839
Credits: 10
Semester: Year-Long
Department: PHILOSOPHY
International: No
Coordinator: Michael Dunne (CRITICAL SKILLS)
Overview Overview
 

The thought of Aquinas (d. 1274) with regard to natural law and human rights is one of the more enduring influences of medieval reflection on this important concept even still in contemporary discussions. The question of individual rights was also discussed by later medieval thinkers such as the Irish writer Richard FitzRalph (1300–60), under the notion of dominium. This discussion would exert an influence down to the sixteenth century, and including the question of the rights of the ‘newly discovered’ peoples of the New World. The question of group rights was also considered in the later Middle Ages, especially with regard to the toleration or lack thereof of the Other (e.g., Jewish and Muslim religion and culture, as well as gender and sexual orientation). These medieval reflections together with the grounding of human rights in the notion of human dignity are still very much ‘live’ issues in contemporary debates.

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