Survival of the fairest? Evolution and the geneticization of rights

Keane, David (2010) Survival of the fairest? Evolution and the geneticization of rights. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 30 (3) . pp. 467-494. ISSN 0143-6503 [Article] (doi:10.1093/ojls/gqq022)


The process of evolution is largely absent from philosophical legal literature, to the extent that the possibility of a genetic origin of rights has not been explored. This is striking given that human rights theory stems from natural law and natural rights, which seems to imply a potential link with natural selection. Furthermore, the concept of nature has played a significant role in the philosophical foundations of international legal norms of rights and responsibilities. On the surface it may seem desirable to link rights to genetics. However, this approach can undermine criticism of genetic research and risks subordinating rights-based analysis to a problematic endeavour. The article looks to the discourse of ‘geneticization’ to provide a critique of future research into ‘law as evolution’. It recommends shifting jurisprudential thinking beyond the confines of bioethics, in line with future advances in biological research into the genetic origins of rights.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Online ISSN: 1464-3820
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Law and Politics
Item ID: 11127
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Bade Ajibade
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2013 15:37
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:27

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Activity Overview
6 month trend
6 month trend

Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.