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In the same way that science changed and evolved as more information became known, Blocker’s article demonstrates that the notion of “human rights” has also evolved and changed during the past 2000 years, giving the world a concept that largely resembles the notion of “rights” found in the eighteenth century French and American “declarations.” Of course, not only were there changes to our understanding of what our natural human rights are, but what continued to change was our understanding of who was entitled to these rights (and that is still being debated in some nations).
• First, what “rights” do you consider to be “universal human rights”? For example, because you can lose your right to vote if convicted of a felony, the right to vote must not be a universal human right. So, what would you include as universal rights that all people everywhere should have? Include as many as you believe are genuine human rights.
• If “universal human rights” are based on the notion that all people share a common (rational) nature, explain why there are people in some countries who are not entitled to these same “universal human rights.”
• In your opinion, in these areas where human rights are not universal, do you see any patterns that suggest an absence of international moral and legal standards? If so, what are they? Try to be as specific with you examples as you can be.
• Article 27 (s) of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.” Does it surprise you that the UN considers copyright protection to be a “universal human right” and that plagiarism would be a human rights violation? Why or why not?
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