Essay on Human Rights Is Simple Nonsense, By Jeremy Bentham

Essay on Human Rights Is Simple Nonsense, By Jeremy Bentham

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1. In his essay “Anarchical Fallacies,” Jeremy Bentham argues that “Natural rights is simple nonsense: natural and imprescriptible [i.e. inalienable] rights, rhetorical nonsense,—nonsense upon stilts.” Bentham will eventually conclude not only that these ideas are meaningless, but also quite dangerous. How does Bentham support these conclusions.

In his essay “Anarchical Fallacies,” Jeremy Bentham argues that “Natural rights is simple nonsense: natural and imprescriptible [i.e. inalienable] rights, rhetorical nonsense,—nonsense upon stilts” Bentham supports his conclusion that not only that these ideas are meaningless, but are also quite dangerous and that natural law is simply nonsense by stating the following reasons:
First Bentham called natural rights anarchical fallacies because he did not believe that a government could live up to the standards demanded from the doctrine of natural rights. For Bentham the only real rights were legal rights. He rejected the idea that natural rights existed because he believed that there was never a time when people didn’t exist within a society and didn’t have some kind of restrictions imposed on them.
The only real rights for Bentham were legal rights because legal laws were imperative to maintain a social order. He concludes that the law and government could play a positive role in society to protect these legal rights. Bentham states the declaration was a “perpetual abuse of words” attempting to describe natural rights (Bentham 120- 121). This is problematic because the word “rights” has an ambiguous meaning and can be used differently in multiple contexts for several different purposes. Without a universal understanding of a single meaning of the word “rights” Bentham reveals societ...


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...tection and the hierarchal morality innately exists in mankind. Together Mill accounts for the legal and morality of natural rights.




















Works Cited
"Declaration of the Rights of Man - 1789." The Avalon Project. Yale Law School, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.

Hayden, Patrick. "13. Bentham." Philosophy of Human Rights. Paragon House, 2001. Web. 10 Nov. 2014.

Hayden, Patrick. "Utilitarism. Philosophy of Human Rights. Paragon House, 2001. Web. 10 Nov. 2014.

Ushistory.org. "The Declaration of Independence." Declaration of Independence. USHistory.org, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.

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