Abstract

We argue that human rights are best conceived as norms arising from a fiduciary relationship that exists between states (or statelike actors) and the citizens and noncitizens subject to their power. These norms draw on a Kantian conception of moral personhood, protecting agents from instrumentalization and domination. They do not, however, exist in the abstract as timeless natural rights. Instead, they are correlates of the state’s fiduciary duty to provide equal security under the rule of law, a duty that flows from the state’s institutional assumption of irresistible sovereign powers.

Document Type

Article

Publication Information

15 Legal Theory 301-336 (2009)

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