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date: 22 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Evidence for relativistic theories of rights and duties is overturned by an analysis of supererogatory acts in Afghan, Asian, and Spanish-speaking cultures. The authors present a cultural evolutionary account of the development of rights and duties to explain the appearance of certain universals in the domain of justice. An order of evolution is proposed: from functional origin in primitive social relations, to informal labeling as “rights” and “duties,” to formalization in black-letter law. The authors recommend two future directions of research: an investigation of the cycle of rights and duties as understood in different political and cultural contexts, and a closer analysis of universal duties, beyond human rights alone.

Keywords: rights and duties, supererogation, cultural evolution, primitive social relations, universals, family rights and duties, religious systems, normative justice, cycle of rights and duties, afghan culture, latino and spanish cultures, asian cultures

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