Moral rights: Conflicts and valid claims

Philosophical Studies 54 (1):63 - 86 (1988)
Most of us have certain intuitions about moral rights, at least partially captured by the ideas that: (A) rights carry special weight in moral argument; (B) persons retain their rights even when they are legitimately infringed; although (C) rights undoubtedly do conflict with one another, and are sometimes overridden as well by nonrights considerations. I show that Dworkin's remarks about rights allow us to affirm (A), (B), and (C), yet those remarks are extremely vague. I then argue that Feinberg's more comprehensive and precise theory, designed to do justice to all three theses, cannot assure us of (A), that rights are not merely one consideration to be weighed in the balance with heterogeneous others. I show how Feinberg accepts (C) despite being drawn toward an alternative absolutist theory of rights and commits himself to (B) through his rejection of prima facie rights. But his promising distinction between recognition and enforcement of a right, which helps give some sense to (B) despite its tension with (C), undermines the force of rights in moral argument apparently intended by (A). We thus learn that Feinberg's and Dworkin's accounts of rights are incompatible, though each is correct in important ways. Contrasting their views allows us to clarify the implications and consistency of alternative theses about rights, one step toward meeting the challenge of developing a theory which shows more adequately how respect for rights is to be combined with other intuitions about rights and their relation to other values.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/BF00354178
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,392
External links
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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

16 ( #281,259 of 1,924,699 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #417,767 of 1,924,699 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.