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A Groundwork for Rights: Man's Natural End

  • The Journal of Libertarian Studies
Douglas B. Rasmussen

Tags Philosophy and Methodology

Murray Rothbard, in a paper entitled "The Ethics of Liberty," argued that the standard for moral goodness is set by man's nature. Whatever fulfills the nature of a living thing is good, and whatever diminishes the nature of a living thing is bad. When the living thing in question is a human being and when we are speaking of chosen ends, then we are speaking of moral "goods" and "bads." Rothbard, in almost all respects, endorsed a natural-law doctrine as the groundwork for rights.

David Osterfeld, in response to Rothbard, claimed that Rothbard had failed to show why the actions of a human being should be in accord with his nature. The axiological rule that human behavior should conform to the requirements and needs of human life did not have "scientific status."

Volume 4, Number 1 (1980)

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Rasmussen, Douglas B. "A Groundwork for Rights: Man's Natural End." Journal of Libertarian Studies 4, No.1 (1980): 65-76.