Human rights are “almost a form of religion in today’s world” (Heard n page), still they are difficult to define. The difficulty is attributed to the existence of numerous visions of it. Prior to suggesting own definition of human rights, this paper considers the best-known perspectives, including stoicism, natural law, and the Greek ideas.
The roots of stoicism are traced in the early 3rd century BC, and stoics are considered to be the originators of “the modern notion of “human right” (Hadot 311). The main idea underlying stoicism is about the absolute value of the human person (Garrett, 2007). While praising this value, stoics suggested that any error in judgment that led to destructive emotions was a violation of human rights.Like stoics, Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle viewed a man as a measure of all things. While considering a man’s interests first, they defined justice as the state of doing one’s own business, and having what a man owns. If this order was disturbed, the Greek philosophers were speaking about violation of human rights. The ideas of Greek philosophers are also seen in the natural law of Thomas Aquinas, who though suggested his own interpretation.
According to the philosopher, an action is considered to be good or bad in terms of its contribution to happiness, or eudaimonia. However, unlike his predecessors, Aquinas suggests that a man is unable to achieve complete happiness in his life, for it means supernatural union with God.Considering these visions of human nature, the following definition of human rights is suggested: Human rights are an instrument to promote human happiness through ensuring justice.
Garrett, Jan Edward. The Doubtful Descent of Human Rights from Stoicism. Web. 13 September 2015.
Hadot. The Inner Citadel: The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. Harvard University Press, 1998. Print.
Heard, Andrew. Human Rights: Chimeras in Sheep’s Clothing? Web. 13 September …