David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Political Philosophy 12 (2):147–162 (2004)
TO assert that one should come to terms with the past if one wants to understand the present would be to underline the obvious. And yet, even though we know much more of the history of natural rights theories now, especially of the origin of these theories before the seventeenth century, than we did, say, twenty years ago, this increase in knowledge seems to have had little impact on contemporary philosophical discussions about the nature of rights. Sometimes it seems that philosophers, especially the more analytically minded ones, regard the history of ideas as a separate subject with little or no relevance to their research. One of the reasons might be a tendency to regard conceptual analysis of rights as being relatively impartial between different theories in which these concepts might function. Even those who would allow for a close connection between a certain conception of the nature of rights and a theory of rights would ﬁnd it prudent to distinguish more or less sharply between the question of what it means to have a right on the one hand, and the question which rights we have on the other hand. I would like to suggest that concepts of rights are the concepts of a theory and that we need to understand the theories from which they have emerged in order to fully understand contemporary rights language. One way of making this claim plausible would be to focus on an issue that has become central to contemporary debates about rights, that is, the conception of the rights-holder as a sovereign individual. I believe that our notion of individual sovereignty wavers between two quite different conceptions of sovereignty. The difference between the two will become obvious if we consider the relation between moral rights and more general moral obligations that people might have. I will then draw attention to a recent account of the history of natural rights theories. The point of doing so is this: if the account is true, then we have to acknowledge that ‘our’ ideas of natural rights (and especially of the sovereignty that people are supposed to possess according to these theories) have....
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Samantha Brennan (1999). Reconciling Feminist Politics and Feminist Ethics on the Issue of Rights. Journal of Social Philosophy 30 (2):260–275.
W. J. Talbott (2010). Human Rights and Human Well-Being. Oxford University Press.
Gary B. Herbert (2005). On the Misconceived Genealogy of Human Rights. Social Philosophy Today 21:17-32.
Erol Kuyurtar (2007). Are Cultural Group Rights Against Individual Rights? The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 3:51-59.
Rex Martin (2012). Natural Rights Human Rights and the Role of Social Recognition. Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 17 (1):91-115.
Hugh V. McLachlan (2010). Moral Rights to Life, Both Natural and Non-Natural: Reflections on James Griffin's Account of Human Rights. Diametros 26:58-76.
Joseph Raz (2010). Human Rights Without Foundations. In J. Tasioulas & S. Besson (eds.), The Philosphy of International Law. Oxford University Press.
Siegfried van Duffel (2013). Natural Rights to Welfare. European Journal of Philosophy 21 (4):641-664.
Richard Tuck (1979). Natural Rights Theories: Their Origin and Development. Cambridge University Press.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads16 ( #99,039 of 1,096,853 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #74,153 of 1,096,853 )
How can I increase my downloads?