Only a few hundred years ago there emerged the ideal of inalienable rights to life,
liberty, property, free speech, freedom of conscience and religion, etc. Yet rights now are routinely
claimed to include health care, employment, housing, and education; the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights even lists paid vacations. Are rights bestowed by government, or do we possess
them simply because we are human? Do we have a "right" to all things we need for a full human
lifeeven if it obligates others to provide them?
The Morality in Our Age series examines the historical and philosophical background of today's most
pressing moral challenges. Though a final "answer" is notoriously elusive in moral discussion, you'll
develop a much better insight into the forces and principles at play on today's most serious moral
issues, problems, and dilemmas.
State University of NY at Binghampton
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