Human rights and research on inchoate life: An emerging set of limits for rights vocabularies?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Perhaps because we live in a time when rights are the most favored vocabularies in negotiating issues and constructing institutions, at least in the West, it is easy to miss limits on the powers of rights to do any of the things expected of them. The main argument in this article is that rights vocabularies do not refer successfully to inchoate life forms and that research into such life should be regulated by communal goods. The source of moral guidance is the set of needs in the larger human community, arguable the oldest moral map in history. On these considerations research that provides spectacular benefits to the human species may be justified even if it sacrifices infinitesimal life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)959-983
Number of pages25
JournalHuman Rights Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this