Universal Human Rights? Historical and Contemporary Comments


  • Bogdan Szlachta Jagiellonian Univeristy in Kraków




natural law, law of nature, natural rights, human rights


The concept of human rights, supposedly of universal importance, is usually derived from the tradition referred to as “Western”. Although the “classic approaches” – Greek, Roman and Christian, refer to the norms of natural law, making them the basis or limits of the rights of individuals, in modern approaches the relation is reserved, in the manner that rights become primary to norms. Although liberals of the 17th and 18th centuries consider the law of nature as a tool for their protection, starting from the 19th century, the rights (already called human rights) have been increasingly perceived as positive abilities to articulate own, subjective preferences of individuals. This evolution needs to be accounted for in the studies carried out by representatives of various cultures, since the comprehension of an individual (and even a “human person”) as an essentially culturally unconditioned one, is its ineradicable element.


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Author Biography

Bogdan Szlachta, Jagiellonian Univeristy in Kraków

Full Professor of Humanities, lawyer and philosopher. Head of Chair of Political Philosophy at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow and Chair of Theory and Philosophy of Politics at the Academy Ignatianum in Krakow. Dean of the Faculty of International and Political Studies of the Jagiellonian University (2008-2016). Editor-in-chief of the serial publication “Societas” and academic journals: “Politeja. The Journal of the Faculty of International and Political Studies JU” and “Myśl Polityczna. Political Thought”. Member of Academia Europaea in London.


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How to Cite

Szlachta, Bogdan. 2021. “Universal Human Rights? Historical and Contemporary Comments”. Politeja 18 (2(71):3-17. https://doi.org/10.12797/Politeja.18.2021.71.01.