Taking the "human" out of human rights

John Harris

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    Abstract

    Human rights are universally acknowledged to be important, although they are, of course, by no means universally respected. This universality has helped to combat racism and sexism and other arbitrary and vicious forms of discrimination. Unfortunately, as we shall see, the universality of human rights is both too universal and not universal enough. It is time to take the "human" out of human rights. Indeed, it is very probable that in the future there will be no more humans as we know them now, because the further evolution of our species, either Darwinian or more likely determined by human choices, will, we must hope, result in the emergence of new sorts of beings better able to cope with the intellectual and physical challenges of the future. One example of the ways in which this is already happening is the sorts of cognitive enhancement that are already coming on stream. Another is signaled by stem cell research and the birth of regenerative medicine. © 2010 Cambridge University Press.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)9-20
    Number of pages11
    JournalCambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics
    Volume20
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011

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