more from H.L.A. Hart

Single Idea 21004

[catalogued under 25. Society / C. Social Justice / 4. Legal Rights / a. Basis of rights]

Full Idea

Whereas Bentham saw rights as a 'child of law', Herbert Hart's view takes the form of seeing human rights as, in effect, 'parents of law'; they motivate specific legislations.

Gist of Idea

Hart (against Bentham) says human rights are what motivate legal rights


report of H.L.A. Hart (The Concept of Law [1961]) by Amartya Sen - The Idea of Justice 17 'Ethics'

Book Reference

Sen, Amartya: 'The Idea of Justice' [Penguin 2010], p.363

A Reaction

[He cites Hart 1955 'Are there any natural rights?'] I agree with Hart. It is clearer if the parents of law are not referred to as 'rights'. You can demand a right, but it is only a right when it is awarded to you.

Related Idea

Idea 21003 Only laws can produce real rights; rights from 'law of nature' are imaginary [Bentham]