The process of evolution is largely absent from philosophical legal literature, to the extent that the possibility of a genetic origin of rights has not been explored. This is striking given that human rights theory stems from natural law and natural rights, which seems to imply a potential link with natural selection. Furthermore, the concept of nature has played a significant role in the philosophical foundations of international legal norms of rights and responsibilities. On the surface it may seem desirable to link rights to genetics. However, this approach can undermine criticism of genetic research and risks subordinating rights-based analysis to a problematic endeavour. The article looks to the discourse of ‘geneticization’ to provide a critique of future research into ‘law as evolution’. It recommends shifting jurisprudential thinking beyond the confines of bioethics, in line with future advances in biological research into the genetic origins of rights.
Saturday, 17 July 2010
Geneticization of Rights
David Keane, who is a lecturer at the Law School of Middlesex University in London, and a PhD graduate of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, has just published an article entitled 'Survival of the Fairest? Evolution and the Geneticization of Rights' in the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies. Here is the abstract: