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Is all morality about human rights?

Is the whole of morality about human rights, or human rights the whole of morality? Are there other types of moral concern than human rights concerns? One can argue that morality is a human construct as we are the only species (at present) able to recognize and live by its existence. Thus, morality can only apply to human rights because we are the only species able to even enter into conversation with it in the first place.

With that in mind, do all moral considerations necessarily only relate back to the protection of these rights; so that concerns for animals or the environment are relevant only as moral concerns in terms of how they can directly/or indirectly affect human rights? Or is morality a universal concept that extends far beyond the remit of Human Rights and if so how can one justify such a position?


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  • Nov 9 2012: Issues of morality are not limited to human rights, but rather human rights are intrinsically tied to issues of morality, and morality is not necessarily limited to humans. An example of this might be hunting practices in various countries. In Canada there is the annual seal hunt, in Japan there is the dolphin hunt. Much of the controversy regarding such practices are centered around the ethics and morals pertaining to those traditions (i.e. the killing of those animals, how they are killed). That controversy can also be extended to the cultures of the people involved. How much right do they have to practice something that has historically been a part of their identity? Are they obligated by popular vote to abolish a time honoured tradition? Maybe the better question might be is: How is morality subjective?

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