Rights and claims

Journal of Value Inquiry 7 (3):204-213 (1973)
Abstract
By way of conclusion, I have tried to show that rights do not come from nowhere, that is, rights are not sui generis. They come from claims. Rights do not make claims possible; rather claims make rights possible. For out of claims come claims to rights and from the welter of such claims to rights a legal system is established which, after sifting and refining, accepts some claims to rights and dignifies these as deeds, titles, rights and rejects others; and provides rules enabling persons to exercise their rights. A system of rights and rules thus generated gives one the right to make strong claims. Although having a right is not a condition for making a claim, having a right is necessary to sustain and appraise a claim. Appealing to rights enables us to distinguish weak from strong claims. For rights may sustain or rebut claims though they are not themselves claims.How can we appraise claims? A claim to implies a claim that, the latter being an outcome of the former. If the resulting claim is open to appraisal of the sustain/reject or true/false kind, then it is a claim in a sense other than a primitive cry in the wild. If one can go on to say of a claim that is open to appraisal that one has a right to make such a claim or that one has a strong claim, this is to give favorable, initial appraisal to a claim thus made; and is a claim not in a primitive but in a secondary and ultimately more significant sense
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