Towards an action-guiding theory of human rights

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What are the main conditions that any theory of human rights should satisfy to guide action? If agents must take action for a fairer world as human rights discourse suggests, this is a crucial question to reflect upon. In this paper, I make a proposal. I argue that any theory of (moral) human rights that guides action on the basis of correlative duties must satisfy three key conditions. The first condition is focused on the specification of act-types, the second concerns the distribution of correlative duties, and the third is focused on the resolution of (resolvable) conflicts of human rights. I show that this proposal has substantive implications because it implies to reject, challenge and, in some cases, resist ideas that are commonly accepted in the literature on human rights.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-220
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Global Ethics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Action
  • action-guiding theory
  • duties
  • human rights


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