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The Philosophy of Natural Rights

Adam Mossoff

Presented at: IRM 1998

Date: Jun 28, 1998

The fountainhead of the American Revolution was John Locke's theory of natural rights. His political philosophy––that man's rights to life, liberty, and property must be protected by government––defined the American ideal. The concept of natural rights was clearly an historicalachievement. By retracing its development through Locke and his predecessors, Hugo Grotius and Samuel Pufendorf, this course illuminates the historical context that gave birth to this concept.The course exam!nes how the concept was developed and de-fended, and why it later succumbed to subjectivism. We can learn from the brilliant triumphs and the ill-fated errors of the natural-rights philosophers, and thus can better understand Ayn Rand's concept of objective rights.



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