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Human Rights after Darwin: is a general theory of human rights now possible?

Centre for the Study of Human Rights alumni lecture

Conor Gearty speculates about the ongoing search for truth in human rights and reflects on his seven years as director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at LSE.

The holy grail of human rights is a universal theory, some overarching set of foundations that explains why it is right as well as morally pleasing to promote human rights across the world. The search for this kind of truth has been hindered by the century-old divide between science and the humanities that has isolated specialists in their particular disciplinary fields, depriving scholars of access to progress that is being made elsewhere. With advances in evolutionary biology and the neurological sciences, that divide is now breaking down. The more recent addiction to uncertainty as the only possible truth is fading too, a victim of our intuition that good and evil have a meaning beyond our mere agreement to use these words in a certain way. As the mists caused by these old divisions clear, a universal theory of human rights, rooted in truth, is emerging into view. Is the golden age of human rights not past, but just around the corner?

Conor Gearty is professor of human rights law, a barrister and director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights.


Professor Conor Gearty | talks | www
Chair: Dr Sigrid Rausing | talks


Date and Time:

7 May 2009 at 6:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Old Theatre, London School of Economics & Political Science
Houghton St

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Organised by:

London School of Economics & Political Science
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Available from:

This event is free and open to all however a ticket is required. One ticket per person can be requested from 10.00am on Tuesday 28 April.

Members of the public, LSE staff and alumni can request one ticket via the online ticket request form which will be live on this weblisting from 10.00am on Tuesday 28 April. You may need to refresh your browser.

LSE students are able to collect one ticket from the LSESU reception, located on the ground floor of the East Building from 10.00am on Tuesday 28 April.

Additional Information:

For more information, visit www.lse.ac.uk/events.

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