Natural Rights Theories (L5)

1) How does the Age of Discovery provide an opportunity for Spanish thinkers to reflect on the idea of rights?

During the Age of Discovery, Spanish theologians and philosophers (for the first time) were faced with what Mr. Woods accurately labeled as a “crisis of conscience”. Suddenly, they were faced with the reality that their leaders’ interactions with the natives of the New World had been all but less than humane. In this moment of emotional realization, the roots of natural rights took foundation in the understanding that we are all human beings.

2) What does John Locke mean by self-ownership? How does he think goods in the state of nature come to be owned by individuals?

John Locke believed that self-ownership was was the ability of an individual to exercise a range of control over ones-self. He also believed that for one to become the initial owner of a good in the state of nature, one would have to mix their labor with that particular good. The good would then become an extension of that particular person, and ownership would be granted until the good was either gifted or sold unto another potential owner.


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