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Natural Right, Not Human Rights

Herbert E. Hartmann

Pierre Manent’s work, Natural Law and Human Rights, continues his life-long quest to understand both the nature of the political order and the nature of man as the rational, and thus, the political animal. He devoted a number of his works to study the seismic shift that occurred when the project of modernity replaced ancient political thought with modern political thought.

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Current Issue

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The Substance of Things

Issue One

Human life is saturated with the experience of objects. We are, at all times, surrounded by things, whether made or natural. Yet, the ubiquity of things is also the cause of their neglect. How often do we properly attend to the things around us or reflect on the unconscious decisions we make as to their purpose, meaning, and worth? Distinctions between what is natural and artificial, living and lifeless, useful and ornamental, appear obvious, but when probed the scope of these differences is singularly difficult to discern. Behind every encounter with the things of this world lie fundamental judgments as to the nobility of our embodied existence and the dignity of our being creatures in a material world. Although easily overlooked, disdained, and discarded, the inner core of things nonetheless still discloses something as to the mystery of our being human.

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Humanum is about the human: what makes us human, what keeps us human, and what does not. We are driven by the central questions of human existence: nature, freedom, sexual difference and the fundamental figures to which it gives rise, man, woman, and child. We probe these in the context of marriage, family, education, work, medicine and bioethics, science and technology, political and ecclesial life. We sift through the many competing ideas of our age so that we might “hold fast to what is good” and let go of what is not. In addition to articles, witness pieces, and book reviews ArteFact: Film & Fiction searches out the human in the literary and cinematic arts.

Humanum is published as a free service by the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, D.C.