Rethinking Rights, Preserving Community: How My Mind Has Changed

Journal of Religious Ethics 25 (1):3 - 14 (1997)
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Just below the surface of public life in the United States, a biblically based theory of rights vies with a theory that first appeared in the work of Bentham and Mill, and the latter is gaining increasing dominance. The resolution of this conflict has implications for a host of legal matters and public policy decisions, including life and death issues like physician-assisted suicide. Though the ascendancy of the Millian tradition reflects widespread skepticism concerning the possibility of developing a basis for a common morality or defending a conception of natural inalienable rights, the author argues that a plausible account of common human morality can be developed from attention to the relationships that are requisite for sustaining the communities that are the condition of moral agency.



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