Masthead CMC Magazine / January 1, 1996

* Sexually Explicit Materials and the Internet, by Douglas Birsch

A Philosophical Framework for the Issue

The philosophical position endorsed by this article starts with the assertion that all human beings possess human rights, including the rights to life, basic well- being, liberty, and property. There is insufficient space in this essay to adequately defend this assertion, but two approaches to defending human rights will be briefly discussed. The first is a relativist justification; it suggests that the belief in human rights is part of the ethical tradition of the United States and is endorsed by the majority of Americans today. Civil rights, in the United States, were created by the Constitution, but the reason why the Constitution features the language of rights is that many of the founders believed in human rights. The founders' belief in human rights proceeded from and helped to reinforce the American moral tradition of asserting that people have human rights. If we assume that most Americans today still believe in human rights, then this belief is an appropriate moral belief for people living in the United States for two reasons: it is an important component in our moral tradition and it is endorsed by most current citizens.

[[]Cooper discusses Lockean rights in cyberspace.]

There are also attempts at justifying the belief in human rights in an objective way. One such objective justification is provided by the philosopher, --Alan Gewirth. ^4

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