Between Tyranny and Self-Interest: Why Neo-republicanism Disregards Natural Rights

David Guerrero Martin, Julio Martínez-Cava

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Abstract

The first contribution of this article is a politico-philosophical map that, drawing upon two common sets of arguments against modern natural rights, might help to explain the prevailing neo-republican position on natural rights. Under the label 'abstraction argument', we explore the view that natural rights are a metaphysical construct that usually ends in a violent application of speculative principles to society. Under 'self-interest argument', we discuss the notion that natural rights endorse an atomistic and selfish conception of the human being. Second, we show how Cold War authors replicated these two arguments, conveying a biased, largely anti-republican and anti-democratic view of natural rights to the twentieth century. Third, drawing on these two arguments, we critically assess the narrow view of natural rights inherited by neo-republican scholars.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-171
Number of pages32
JournalTheoria
Volume69
Issue number171
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1-Jun-2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cold War
  • democracy
  • liberalism
  • Marxism
  • natural rights
  • republicanism
  • DOMINATION
  • HISTORY
  • SCIENCE
  • LAW

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