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哈特曾断言:“如果存在任何道德权利,那么至少存在一种自然权利,即人人享有自由的平等权利。”“[[2]]所有人都有自然权利或作为人类的权利这一命题在托马斯·阿奎那和约翰·洛克的理论中被明确地发现,在伊曼努尔·康德的道德和政治哲学中被含蓄地发现,至少在托马斯·霍布斯的著作中是有问题的。在实践层面上,它不仅表现在花言巧语中,而且表现在美国和法国革命的宪法革新中,指出“在每一个政治团体看来,目的是维护人的自然和不可侵犯的权利”。“[[3]]当普通公民作为生活和抗议的人,挑战现有政府的规定如果他发现他们压迫时,他呼吁男性同样的自由平等的价值观,和社会差异消失,留下孤独的个体与他的基本人性。然而,无论是保守派还是社会主义思想家,都试图否认这种说法,而是主张社会利益比个人利益更重要。正如卡尔•马克思(Karl Marx)会说的那样:“所谓的人的权利,没有一种超越了自我中心的人……一个人躲在他的私人利益和心血来潮的背后,与社会脱节。”[[4]]同样的理念和同样的争论在20世纪的政治辩论中占据了主导地位。对于像j·l·麦基(J. L. Mackie)和大卫·休谟(David Hume)这样的主观主义思想家的道德和政治理论来说,一个人的个性权利和不受干扰的自由的重要性至关重要。然而,自然权利理论从来没有被正确地证明或否定过,或者至少没有被定义和辩论过。


H. L. A. Hart once asserted that “if there are any moral rights at all, it follows that there is at least one natural right, the equal right of all men to be free.”[ [2] ] And the proposition that all men have natural rights or rights as human beings is found explicitly in the theories of Thomas Aquinas and John Locke, implicitly in the moral and political philosophy of Immanuel Kant, and at least problematic in the writings of Thomas Hobbes. At the level of practise, it is expressed not only in the rhetoric but in the constitutional innovations of the American and French Revolutions, stating that “the end in view of every political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptable rights of man.”[ [3] ] When the ordinary citizen acts as a living and protesting individual, challenging the dictates of existing governments when and if he finds them oppressive, he is appealing to the very same values of freedom and equality among men, and in which social differences simply vanish, leaving the solitary individual with his essential human nature.Both conservative and socialist thinkers, however, have attempted to deny such claims, and instead assert the interests of the community as more important than those of the individual. As Karl Marx would put it, “none of the so-called rights of man goes beyond egoistic man,… an individual withdrawn behind his private interests and whims and separated from the community.”[ [4] ] The same idea and the same controversies have dominated political debates in the twentieth century regarding governmental practises. The importance of a person’s rights to individuality and freedom from interference is central to the moral and political theories of such subjectivist thinkers as J. L. Mackie and David Hume. However, by no one has the theory of natural rights ever been properly justified or denied, or at least not as it has been defined and debated.


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