The Oregon State University Philosophy Department kicked off its 2009 Ideas Matter series with Bill Uzgalis’s lecture “How Human Rights Came About: Some History and Some Philosophy”.
Dr. Uzgalis gave some background on how the United Nations developed as a response both to the failure of the League of Nations and to the atrocities of the Nazi regime during World War II. He then compared the modern notion of human rights to the doctrines of natural rights found in the work of John Locke, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man, and the American Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights.
He concluded with some reflections about the obstacles to achieving human rights today, including the role of the United States as the largest weapons dealer in the world and as a supporter of dictatorships around the world. In particular, he predicted that the members of the Bush administration would face intense scrutiny for their flaunting of international law during the war on terror the past 8 years.
If you would like to hear Dr. Uzgalis’s talk, you can download a free podcast of his talk at the OSU iTunes store . Just go down to Lectures and Seminars and find the Ideas Matter Lecture series icon and you can start listening today! We also invite you to continue the discussion about human rights here on our blog.