Seminar 2: What is a fundamental human right? - Spring Seminar series on Law, Economics and Philosophy

MPP and CBS Law seminar series on Law, Economics and Philosophy Spring 2022. The seminar series is jointly organized by Professor Henrik Lando, CBS Law/MPP, Professor WSR Morten Sørensen Thanning, MPP, and External Lecturer Johan Gersel, MPP.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022 - 14:00 to 15:00

This seminar is the second out of four seminars in the MPP and CBS Law seminar series on Law, Economics and Philosophy Spring 2022. 


Title: What is a fundamental human right?

PresenterProfessor, Sten Schaumburg Müller, Department of Law, University of Southern Denmark.



1.     Fundamental human rights are linked to mankind, Planet Earth (for the time being), beyond the state. This is unacceptable to certain types of positive lawyers who claim that law necessarily must be connected to the state either as internal (domestic) law or external (international) law. Certainly, states are important for law, but states are not the only relevant actors; companies, peoples, organizations and mankind are also relevant legal subjects.

2.     Fundamental human rights ought not to be conceptualized in the natural law tradition of European legal thought, i.e. something that is reasoned out and hence undebatable, and something which the self-proclaimed civilized plead when encountering allegedly primitive and ‘natural’ cultures.

3.     Fundamental human rights are best understood by an evolutionary, biological approach. Human beings are not beyond nature. This may be framed as a Hart’ian approach (even though Hart draw some untenable conclusions): Humans are natural creatures with certain traits, such as a rights handling capacity (e.g. similar to chimpanzees but different to lions).

4.     Lawyers and politicians need to take a pragmatic approach to fundamental human rights. They are not natural, nor God given elements, which merely have to be discovered. They are attempts – to a large extend legal attempts – to progress, they are fallible and improvable. 

5.     The entry of fundamental human rights has repercussions for legal method. Contrary to the Enlightenment tradition, it is no longer possible to claim that only one law is relevant for a certain situation. Fundamental human rights regularly enter the legal equation, requiring criminal lawyers, public law lawyers and even private law lawyers to partly leave their comfort zone and include the generally framed fundamental human rights.


Sign up here:
Registration deadline: 15 april 2022, at 12 PM (CEST)

Date: 19 April 2022
Time: 2 pm – 3 pm (CEST)
Place: PHRs20.(Råvarebygningen), Porcelænshaven 18B, 1.154, 2000 Frederiksberg

If you wish to participate online, there is no need to sign up, you can just follow the link for online participation here


The page was last edited by: CBS LAW // 04/06/2022