It is common in the literature to claim that legitimacy is the right to rule and that, accordingly, Hohfeldian rights analysis can be used to understand the concept. However, we argue that authors in the legitimacy literature have not generally realised the full potential of Hohfeldian analysis. We discuss extant approaches in the literature that conceptually identify legitimacy with one particular Hohfeldian incident, or, more rarely, a determinate set of incidents. Against these views, and building on parallel debates in property (...) theory, we suggest that Hohfeldian analysis pushes one towards the claim that legitimacy possesses no determinate essence. We provide a rationale for this novel view and disarm a series of objections. (shrink)
I claim that hate speech is actually antithetical to free speech. Nevertheless, this claim invokes the misconception that one would be jeopardizing free speech due to a phenomenon known as "false polarization" – a “tendency for disputants to overestimate the extent to which they disagree about whatever contested question is at hand.” The real polarity does not lie between hate speech (as protected free speech) vs. censorship. Rather, hate speech is censorship. It is the censorship of entire sectors of the (...) population, a violation of their right to be heard, and at worse, an incitement to their extinction. The liberal attempt to try to fit the metaphorical 'round peg' of hate speech into the 'square hole' of free speech is impossible without revealing one’s reluctance to endow people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, women, and other socially oppressed/marginalized groups as equal and deserving of full human dignity. I start by providing a clear definition of "hate speech" (which is lacking in legislation); then I review the original and alleged political intent of the "freedom of expression" within US history; and finally I illuminate the very material consequences of hate speech. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that specificationism deprives rights of any significant role in practical reasoning before it arrives at a conclusion, while the generalist conception preserves the practical role we intuitively assign to rights in reasoning directed to action. Assuming that a conception of rights faithful to ordinary practical reasoning is preferable, this fact gives a strong reason to prefer generalism over specificationism, although not without qualification. To be satisfactory from the practical standpoint, any account of rights that adopts (...) the generalist view must include second-order principles to orientate agents with regards to addressing rights conflicts. I show that my practical analysis is substantially different from others available in the literature. (shrink)
This chapter explicates and critically assesses RIGHTS CORRELATIVITY. Section II addresses three core issues. The first concerns the conceptual structure of the tethered positions: does correlativity mean that the positions’ features must be symmetrical? Are correlative rights and duties the “mirror images” of one another, or not? A second issue is Existential correlativity: must the positions invariably co-obtain, or can one exist with the other(s)? Can there be a right without a correlative duty, and vice versa? A third issue concerns (...) Justificational correlativity: must all correlative relationships be explained in terms of one position grounding the other(s)? Is it always the case that A’s right is the reason for B’s duty, the basis for imposing a duty on B in the first place? Section III then demonstrates how Wesley Hohfeld’s understanding of rights correlativity motivated all of the novel features in his schema of jural relations, some of which I defend from criticisms. (shrink)
In Righting Health Policy, MacDougall argues that bioethics has not developed the tools best suited for justifying health law and policy. Using Kant’s practical philosophy as an example, he explores the promise of political philosophy for making normatively justified recommendations about health law and policy.
In this article, I explore the relationship between the supersession thesis and the rights of future people. In particular, I show that changes in circumstances might supersede future people’s rights. I argue that appropriating resources that belong to future people does not necessarily result in a duty to return the resources in full. I explore how these findings are relevant for climate change justice. Assuming future generations of developing countries originally had a right to use a certain amount of the (...) carbon budget, changing circumstances could result in rights-supersession. Consequently, members of future generations of industrialized countries may be allowed to use part of the share of the carbon budget belonging to developing countries. (shrink)
What is a right? What, if anything, makes rights different from other features of the normative world, such as duties, standards, rules, or principles? Do all rights serve some ultimate purpose? In addition to raising these questions, philosophers and jurists have long been aware that different senses of ‘a right’ abound. To help make sense of this diversity, and to address the above questions, they developed two types of accounts of rights: models and theories. This book explicates rights modelling and (...) theorising and scrutinises their methodological underpinnings. It then challenges this framework by showing why the theories ought to be abandoned. In addition to exploring structural concerns, the book also addresses the various ways that rights can be used. It clarifies important differences between rights exercise, enforcement, remedying, and vindication, and identifies forms of legal rights-claiming and rights-invoking outside of institutional contexts. (shrink)
Many theorists understand human rights as only aiming to secure a minimally decent existence, rather than a positively good or flourishing life. Some of the theoretical considerations that support this minimalist view have been mapped out in the philosophical literature. The aim of this paper is to explain how a relatively neglected theoretical desideratum – namely, determinacy – can be invoked in arguing for human rights minimalism. Most of us want a theory of human rights whose demands can be realized, (...) and which is acceptable to a range of worldviews. But we might also expect our theory to provide determinate answers to questions of scope (i.e. which putative rights are bona fide human rights?) and practical implementation (i.e. what concrete duties are generated by which rights?). A minimalist view of human rights makes it is easier to jointly fulfil all of these desiderata. (shrink)
There is a long-standing debate about how best to explain rights—one dominated by two rivals, the Interest and Will theories. This article argues that, not only is each theory irredeemably flawed, the entire debate ought to be abandoned. Section two explains the debate and its constituent theories as a dispute over the criteria for the concept of a right, or for some subset of rights. Section three argues that each theory contains fatal idiosyncratic defects—ones that mostly differ from the canonical (...) criticisms found throughout the literature. Section four then argues that the theories also suffer from graver common defects that have hitherto gone undetected. First, their criteria are unmotivated, unjustified, and of questionable accuracy. Secondly, rights theorists’ own commitments to different kinds of accounts (i.e., models) of rights and theories of law (e.g., legal positivism) show why any theory of this sort is unnecessary for understanding rights. (shrink)
I argue that ignorance of who will die makes a difference to the ethics of killing. It follows that reasons are subject to ‘specificity’: it can be rational to respond more strongly to facts that provide us with reasons than to the fact that such reasons exist. In the case of killing and letting die, these reasons are distinctively particular: they turn on personal acquaintance. The theory of rights must be, in part, a theory of this relation.
This article helps to clear up some misunderstandings about the Will Theory of rights. Section 2 briefly outlines the Theories of Rights. Section 3 elucidates some salient differences amongst self-described anti–Interest Theory accounts. Section 4 rebuts Carl Wellman’s and Arthur Ripstein’s respective arguments about the Will Theory differing from “Choice” or Kantian theories of a right. Section 5 then offers a candidate explanation of why people might subscribe to the Will Theory in the first place.
For all their various disagreements, one point upon which rights theorists often agree is that it is simply part of the nature of rights that they tend to override, outweigh or exclude competing considerations in moral reasoning, that they have ‘peremptory force’, making ‘powerful demands’ that can only be overridden in ‘exceptional circumstances’, Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2016, p. 240). In this article I challenge this thought. My aim here is not to prove that the (...) traditional view of rights’ stringency is necessarily false, nor even that we have no good reason to believe it is true. Rather, my aim is only to show that we have good reason to think that the foundation of the traditional position is less stable than we might have otherwise supposed and that an alternative conception of rights—one which takes the stringency of any given right as particular to the kind of right it is—is both viable and attractive. In short, to begin to move us towards a more ‘particularist’ conception of rights’ standing in moral reasoning and judgement. (shrink)
اولین چیزی که ما باید در ذهن داشته باشیم این است که زمانی که گفت که چین می گوید که این یا چین این کار را انجام می دهد ، ما از مردم چین صحبت نمی کنیم ، اما از Sociopaths که کنترل حزب کمونیست چین-چینی ، یعنی هفت قاتلان جامعه سالخورده (SSSSK) از th e کمیته ایستاده از حزب کمونیست چین و یا 25 نفر از اعضای پلی تکنیک و غیره. -/- برنامه های حزب کمونیست برای WW3 و سلطه (...) کل گذاشته می شوند کاملا به وضوح در نشریات دولت چین و سخنرانی ها و این Xi پینگ است "رویای چین". این یک رویا تنها برای اقلیت کوچک است (شاید چند دوجین به چند صد) که حکومت چین و یک کابوس برای هر شخص دیگری (از جمله ۱,۴۰۰,۰۰۰,۰۰۰ چینی). ۱۰,۰۰۰,۰۰۰,۰۰۰ دلار سالانه آنها را قادر می سازد و یا عروسک خود را به خود و یا کنترل روزنامه ها ، مجلات ، تلویزیون و کانال های رادیویی و محل اخبار جعلی در بسیاری از رسانه های بزرگ در همه جا هر روز. علاوه بر این ، آنها یک ارتش (شاید میلیون ها نفر از مردم) که همه رسانه ها را با قرار دادن تبلیغات بیشتر و غرق شدن تفسیر مشروع (ارتش ۵۰ درصد). -/- علاوه برسلب 3 جهان از منابع ، یک محوری عمده از چند تریلیون کمربند دلار و ابتکار راه است ساختمان پایگاه های نظامی در سراسر جهان. آنها را وادار به جهان آزاد را به یک مسابقه عظیم با تکنولوژی بالا اسلحه که باعث می شود جنگ سرد با اتحاد جماهیر شوروی مانند یک پیک نیک نگاه. -/- اگرچه SSSSK ، و بقیه نظامی جهان ، هزینه های زیادی در سخت افزار پیشرفته ، آن را بسیار محتمل است که WW3 (یا درگیری های کوچکتر که منجر به آن) خواهد شد نرم افزار تحت سلطه. این است که از این سوال که SSSSK نیست ، با هکرها احتمالا بیشتر (coders) کار برای آنها و سپس تمام بقیه جهان در ترکیب ، جنگ های آینده با حداقل درگیری های فیزیکی برنده ، فقط با فلج دشمنان خود را از طریق شبکه. بدون ماهواره, بدون تلفن, هیچ ارتباطات, هیچ معاملات مالی, هیچ شبکه برق, بدون اینترنت, هیچ سلاح های پیشرفته, هیچ وسایل نقلیه, قطار, کشتی ها و یا هواپیما. -/- تنها دو مسیر اصلی برای از بین بردن حزب کمونیست چین ، آزاد ۱,۴۰۰,۰۰۰,۰۰۰ زندانیان چینی ، و پایان دادن به راهپیمایی lunatic به WW3 وجود دارد. یکی از مسالمت آمیز است برای راه اندازی یک جنگ تمام کردن تجارت به نابودی اقتصاد چین تا زمانی که نظامی می شود تغذیه و چکمه از حزب کمونیست چین. -/- یک جایگزین برای بستن اقتصاد چین یک جنگ محدود است ، مانند یک اعتصاب هدفمند می گویند ۵۰ هواپیماهای بدون سرنشین thermobaric در کنگره 20 از حزب کمونیست چین ، زمانی که همه اعضای بالا در یک مکان هستند ، اما این اتفاق نمی کشد تا ۲۰۲۲ تا یکی می تواند جلسه عمومی سالانه رسید. چین مطلع خواهد شد ، به عنوان حمله رخ داده است ، که آنها باید غیر روحانی کردن سلاح های خود و آماده شدن برای برگزاری انتخابات دموکراتیک و یا به عصر حجر بگریزد. جایگزین دیگر یک حمله همه هسته ای است. رویارویی نظامی اجتناب ناپذیر است با توجه به دوره حاضر حزب کمونیست است. به احتمال زیاد بیش از جزایر در دریای چین جنوبی و یا تایوان در عرض چند دهه اتفاق می افتد ، اما به عنوان آنها ایجاد پایگاه های نظامی در سراسر جهان می تواند رخ دهد در هر نقطه (نگاه کنید به این ببر و غیره). درگیری های آینده سخت خواهد شد و جنبه های softkill با اهداف اعلام شده از حزب کمونیست چین به تاکید بر cyberwar توسط هک و سیستم های کنترل فلج از تمام ارتباطات نظامی و صنعتی ، تجهیزات ، نیروگاه ها ، ماهواره ها ، اینترنت ، بانک ها ، و هر دستگاه یا وسیله نقلیه متصل به شبکه. SS به آرامی فیلدینگ یک آرایه در سراسر جهان از سرنشین دار و سطح خودمختار و زیر آب و یا هواپیماهای بدون سرنشین قادر به راه اندازی سلاح های معمولی و یا هسته ای که ممکن است دروغ خفته در انتظار یک سیگنال از چین و یا حتی به دنبال امضای کشتی های ایالات متحده و یا هواپیماهای. در حالی که از بین بردن ماهواره های ما, در نتیجه از بین بردن ارتباط بین ایالات متحده آمریکا و نیروهای ما در سراسر جهان, آنها از آنها استفاده کنید, در رابطه با هواپیماهای بدون سرنشین به هدف قرار دادن و نابود کردن نیروهای نیروی دریایی در حال البته ، همه اینها به طور خودکار توسط AI انجام می شود. -/- تا بحال بزرگترین متحد حکچ حزب دموکرات ایالات متحده آمریکا است. انتخاب است برای متوقف کردن حکچ در حال حاضر و یا تماشای آنها را گسترش زندان چین در سراسر جهان است. -/- البته ، نظارت جهانی و دیجیتالی شدن زندگی ما در همه جا اجتناب ناپذیر است. هر کسی که فکر نمی کند تا عمیقا از لمس است. -/- البته این optomists است که انتظار می رود که sociopaths چینی به حکومت جهان در حالی که pessimists (که خود را به عنوان realists) انتظار می رود جامعه اجتماعی (و یا همانطور که من اسمش را--به عنوان مثال ، حماقت مصنوعی یا یک جامعه مصنوعی) را به سر برد ، شاید توسط ۲۰۳۰ کسانی که علاقه مند به اطلاعات بیشتر در مورد مسیر lunatic از جامعه مدرن ممکن است با کارهای دیگر من مانند خودکشی توسط دموکراسی مشورت--اگهی در آمریکا وجهان 3 نسخه ۲۰۱۹ و به خودکشی آرمانی توهم در 21خیابان قرن: فلسفه ، طبیعت انسانی و سقوط تمدن 5 ed (۲۰۱۹) . (shrink)
This is the first comprehensive explanation and survey of the Interest-Will theories of rights debate. It elucidates the traditional understanding of it as a dispute over how best to explain A RIGHT and clarifies the theories’ competing criteria for that concept. The rest of the article then shows why recent developments are either problematic or simply fail to actually advance the debate. First, it is erroneous, as some theorists have done, to frame the entire debate in terms of competing explanations (...) of the direction of ‘directed’ duties. This is because the theories’ respective answers to that issue are themselves dependent upon their respective conceptions of A RIGHT – ones that do not even necessitate the identification of different directions for such duties. Second, all of the new would-be alternative or hybrid theories are shown to merely be versions of the Interest theory. Third, recent efforts to cabin off the debate to ‘normative’ theorisation (i.e., to morally or politically evaluative accounts) are misguided. (shrink)
2018 marked the centenary of Wesley Hohfeld’s untimely passing. Curiously, in recent years quite a few legal historians and philosophers have identified him as a Legal Realist. This article argues that Hohfeld was no such thing, that his work need not be understood in such lights, and that he in fact made a smaller contribution to jurisprudence than is generally believed. He has nothing to do with theories of official decision-making that identify “extra-legal” factors as the real drivers of judicial (...) decision-making, and nor must his schema of jural relations advance a “Realist” political agenda. Distinguishing Hohfeld from the Realists will correct some misunderstandings about his work and demonstrate its utility in many more contexts than a Realist reading of it allows. (shrink)
The most prominent theories of rights, the Will Theory and the Interest Theory, notoriously fail to accommodate all and only rights-attributions that make sense to ordinary speakers. The Kind-Desire Theory, Leif Wenar’s recent contribution to the field, appears to fare better in this respect than any of its predecessors. The theory states that we attribute a right to an individual if she has a kind-based desire that a certain enforceable duty be fulfilled. A kind-based desire is a reason to want (...) something which one has simply in virtue of being a member of a certain kind. Rowan Cruft objects that this theory creates a puzzle about the relation between rights and respect. In particular, if rights are not grounded in aspects of the particular individuals whose rights they are, how can we sustain the intuitive notion that to violate a right is to disrespect the right-holder? I present a contractualist account of respect which reconciles the Kind-Desire Theory with the intuition that rights-violations are disrespectful. On this account, respect for a person is a matter of acknowledging her legitimate authority to make demands on the will and conduct of others. And I argue that kind-based desires authorize a person to make demands even if they do not correspond to that person’s well-being or other non-relational features. (shrink)
This paper has four aims. First it distinguishes two kinds of philosophical accounts of the ‘formal’ features of rights: models and theories. Models outline the ‘conceptually basic’ types of rights (if indeed a given model deems there to be more than one), their differences, and their relationships with duties, liabilities, etc. Theories of rights posit a supposed ultimate purpose for all rights and provide criteria for determining what counts as ‘a right’ in the first place. Second, the paper argues that (...) Monistic rights models (ones positing only a single basic type of right) are under-inclusive. They wrongly exclude and cannot explain relevant data, i.e., ordinary and legal linguistic practices. The third aim is to show that certain Pluralistic models are over-inclusive in terms of what they count as ‘rights’. Fourth, the paper begins to touch upon, but does not provide, criteria for determining what counts as ‘a right’. Two candidate factors will be addressed. (shrink)
The role of responsibility in our common-sense morality of self-defense is complex. According to common-sense morality, one can sometimes use substantial, even deadly, force against people who are only minimally responsible for posing a threat to us. The role of responsibility in self-defense is thus limited. However, responsibility is still sometimes relevant. It sometime affects how much force you can use against a threatener: less if they are less responsible and more if they are more responsible. Is there a well-motivated (...) theory that can explain both why the role of responsibility is limited and why it is sometimes relevant? It is hard to see what theory could unify these disparate elements of our common-sense morality, and if one cannot be found then we may simply have to revise some of our pre-theoretic beliefs. But it would be an important advantage of a theory if it could justify those beliefs. I will argue that there is a theory of this kind: surprisingly, the familiar rights theory of self-defense, defended by Judith Thomson, can do so if it is suitably supplemented. Along the way I will survey some alternative theories of self-defense and show why they are not up to the task. (shrink)
I argue that Schopenhauer’s ascription of (moral) rights to animals flows naturally from his distinctive analysis of the concept of a right. In contrast to those who regard rights as fundamental and then cast wrongdoing as a matter of violating rights, he takes wrong (Unrecht) to be the more fundamental notion and defines the concept of a right (Recht) in its terms. He then offers an account of wrongdoing which makes it plausible to suppose that at least many animals can (...) be wronged and thus, by extension, have rights. The result, I argue, is a perspective on the nature of moral rights in general, and the idea of animal rights in particular, that constitutes an important and plausible alternative to the more familiar views advanced by philosophers in recent decades. (shrink)
This paper is not so much concerned with the question under which circumstances self-defense is justified, but rather with other normative features of self-defense as well as with the source of the self-defense justification. I will argue that the aggressor’s rights-forfeiture alone – and hence the liberty-right of the defender to defend himself – cannot explain the intuitively obvious fact that a prohibition on self-defense would wrong victims of attack. This can only be explained by conceiving of self-defense also as (...) a claim-right. However, I will also argue that a claim-right cannot ground the self-defense justification either. Rather, what grounds the self-defense justification and its particular strength and scope is the fact that self-defense is an act-specific agent-relative prerogative: a defender is allowed to give particularly grave weight to his interest in engaging in self-defense, which distinguishes self-defense from most other acts. This is not the same as saying that he has a right or a liberty to engage in self-defense. Thus, self-defense, understood as a normative concept, is a claim-right, a liberty-right, and an act-specific agent-relative prerogative. (shrink)
Hohfeldian normative system are normative systems that can be described by means of the analytical framework expounded by Hohfeld in his two famous papers on the fundamental legal conceptions. In this article I analyze some features of this particular kind of normative systems. Hohfeld’s original idea was to design a universal tool capable of describing, at the most basic level, the web of normative relationships between persons created by a system of rules. My claim is, instead, that if we take (...) Hohfeld’s framework literally as it is, Hohfeldian normative systems are few. This happens because, amongst other peculiarities, standard Hohfeldian normative systems are necessarily complete and unclosed. In the final part of the article I will show how we can have instead incomplete and closed Hohfeldian normative systems, extending in this way the descriptive range of Hohfeld’s framework. (shrink)
In his article “Directed Duties and Inalienable Rights,” Hillel Steiner advances an argument to show that there cannot be inalienable rights. This “impossibility theorem,” as well as providing an interesting result by itself, could break the theoretical deadlock in the debate between proponents of interest theory, on the one hand, and proponents of will theory, on the other. In this article, I comment on Steiner’s argument, and I try to show why it does not work. I then expound a paradoxical (...) outcome of the Hohfeldian analytical framework and examine how it might be amended to avoid this outcome. (shrink)
Judith Jarvis Thomson and others contend that rights are pro-tanto rather than absolute, that is, that rights may permissibly be infringed in some circumstances. Alan Gewirth maintains that there are some rights that are absolute because infringing them would amount to unspeakable evil. However, there seem to be possible circumstances in which it would be permissible to infringe even those rights. Specificationists, such as Gerald Gaus, Russ Shafer-Landau, Hillel Steiner and Kit Wellman, argue that all rights are absolute because they (...) have implicit exceptions, the exceptions being either right-voiding or right-compatible. Specificationists have charged pro-tantoism with preventing rights from being action-guiding, and pro-tantoists have levelled the same charge against specificationism. I show that both charges are mistaken. Pro-tantoists claim that specificationists cannot account for the moral remainder that we recognise in some circumstances and which can be explained by reference to a permissible right-infringement. Specificationists retort that the moral remainder can be explained by invoking compensation-rights. I show that the pro-tantoist claim is true and that the specificationist retort is false on two counts: explanation in terms of compensation-rights is not applicable to all cases; and it fails to account for the moral dynamic in the cases to which it is applicable. The contention that rights are pro-tanto does not conflict with the substance of the contention that rights are trumps, despite claims of specificationists to the contrary. (shrink)
In this paper I would like to make a contribution to the debate on rights-talk and duties-talk relationship and priority by addressing the problem from a peculiar angle: that of moral conflicts and dilemma. My working hypothesis is that it should be possible to identify some basic and relevant normative features of rights-talk and duties-talk by observing how they modify the description of moral conflicts. I will try to show that both rights and duties posses original and irreducible normative features, (...) and that these latter can be employed in a general assessment of their pro and con. I will first show the conceptual relationship between rights and duties, analyzing in the process a deflationary argument for rights. Second, I will define the general features of moral conflict and dilemma. I will then analyze the different readings that can be given, taking rights or duties as standpoints, of two kinds of moral conflicts: «asymmetric» and «symmetric» conflicts. (shrink)
The language of rights pervades modern social and political discourse and yet there is deep disagreement amongst citizens, politicians and philosophers about just what they mean. Who has them? Who should have them? Who can claim them? What are the grounds upon which they can be claimed? How are they related to other important moral and political values such as community, virtue, autonomy, democracy and social justice? In this book, Duncan Ivison offers a unique and accessible integration of, and introduction (...) to, the history and philosophy of rights. He focuses especially on the politics of rights: the fact that rights have always been, and will remain, deeply contested. He discusses not only the historical contexts in which some of the leading philosophers of rights formed their arguments, but also the moral and logical issues they raise for thinking about the nature of rights more generally. At each step, Ivison also considers various deep criticisms of rights, including those made by communitarian, feminist, Marxist and postmodern critics. The book is aimed at students and readers coming to these issues for the first time, but also at more knowledgeable readers looking for a distinctive integration of history and theory as applied to questions about the nature of rights today. (shrink)
I try to show that Steiner's theory has very implausible normative consequences since it does not accept the prima facie character or rights. This theory is unable to solve the conflicts of interests in which the only intuitively plausible solution consists in overriding someone's rights.
We began with three propositions: that people have a right not to be treated as mere means to the ends of others, that a woman who voluntarily becomes pregnant nevertheless has the right to an abortion, and that a woman who voluntarily gives birth does not have a right to abandon her child until she finds a substitute caretaker. These propositions initially seemed inconsistent, for the prohibition on treating others as mere means appeared to rule out the possibility of positive (...) rights, thus making it impossible to countenance the right to abort or the right not to be abandoned . But we have seen that the prohibition on treating people as mere means to the ends of others is best understood as ruling out basic positive rights while permitting derivative ones. Since a willing mother is responsible for bringing her child into the world in the first place, she cannot abandon it without violating its negative right not to be killed, and so such a child has a derivative positive right not to be abandoned. A pregnant woman, on the other hand, has a negative right not to have her body invaded, and from this negative right derives a positive right to abort her fetus, so long as doing so is not disproportionate to the seriousness of the threat . Therefore, far from being in conflict, propositions , , and have been shown to be in harmony with one another, the latter two being plausibly grounded in the first. Insofar as we have reason to accept , then, we have reason to accept and . Moreover, we have seen that a proper understanding of allows us to embed and in a larger moral perspective in which the limits of compulsory altruism are firmly drawn: enforceable rights to the use or assistance of others may be allowed into the moral domain only if they are “sponsored” by some negative right. Every putative positive right must find such a sponsor, or perish. (shrink)
The paper engages the conceptual question of the nature of rights. First, moral methodology for developing criteria to judge the adequacy of theories for the concept of rights is discussed. Standard methodologies for conceptual theory, such as analysis of language practices, appealing to intuitions to test and correct hypotheses, and mixtures of these with appeals to substantive moral values, are shown to fail in important ways to give us reasons to adopt one or another view of the concept. An alternative (...) methodology is proposed which appeals to the distinct role of concepts in our value scheme (the added value of being able to employ such concepts in our moral judgments). This is then used to develop criteria for a successful theory of rights. Two existing theories are shown, as a matter of illustration, to fail to satisfy the criteria, and finally an alternative theory of rights which does satisfy these criteria is proposed and defended. (shrink)