Rights from Wrongs: A Secular Theory of the Origins of Rights

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Basic Books, 2009 - Law - 272 pages
7 Reviews
Where do our rights come from? Does "natural law" really exist outside of what is written in constitutions and legal statutes? If so, why are rights not the same everywhere and in all eras? On the other hand, if rights are nothing more than the product of human law, why should we ever allow them to override the popular will? In Rights from Wrongs, renowned legal scholar Alan Dershowitz puts forward a wholly new and compelling answer to this age-old dilemma: Rights, he argues, do not come from God, nature, logic, or law alone. They arise out of particular human experiences with injustice. Rights from Wrongs is the first book to propose a theory of rights that emerges not from a theory of perfect justice but from its opposite: from the bottom up, from trial and error, and from our collective experience of injustice. Human rights come from human wrongs. "[Dershowitz's] underlying theory is one that can be neutrally applied by people residing at all positions within the political spectrum.... Perhaps if his views were understood by more people, there would be both a toning down of the political rhetoric." -Tampa Tribune

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Review: Rights from Wrongs: A Secular Theory of the Origins of Rights

User Review  - Goodreads

I found this book by accident in a second hand bookstore and I was in awe-at the several opening pages. It gets a quite confusing and require more philosophical approach as it get to further pages. An enjoyable read, nonetheless. Read full review

Review: Rights from Wrongs: A Secular Theory of the Origins of Rights

User Review  - Goodreads

This was a very approachable book with satisfying answers to several questions that had been bouncing around in my gray matter for a while regarding human rights. If rights are "inalienable," why have ... Read full review

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About the author (2009)

Alan M. Dershowitz is currently the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at the Harvard Law School. He appears frequently in the mainstream media as a commentator and analyst on a variety of issues, including national security, torture, civil liberties, and the Middle East peace process. He is the
author of Rights From Wrongs: A Secular Theory of the Origins of Rights, America on Trial: Inside the Legal Battles That Transformed Our Nation, Shouting Fire, and Preemption.

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