Medieval and modern concepts of rights : how do they differ?

In Virpi Mäkinen (ed.), The Nature of Rights: Moral and Political Aspects of Rights in Late Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy. The Philosophical Society of Finland (2010)
(Abstract: To say that there is a moral right to act in a certain way is to say that there is a presumption that such acts are morally right, which implies that others should not blame, punish or deliberately obstruct. A community’s recognition of such rights is a way of reducing conflict among its members. Natural or human rights are rights that ought to be recognised in every community. Statements of natural rights are not analytic; they may be self evident, at least in the sense that everyone can easily see the usefulness of recognising such rights. The concept of a right has not changed since the middle ages and neither have the kinds of justifications given for recognising rights. Medieval moralists clearly recognised the human freedom presupposed by all ethical and legal systems and valued the liberty that consists in not being excessively constrained by legally and socially enforced duties. In modern times more recognition has been given to the rights of conscience, and this has led to some attempt to formulate duties we have toward conscientious agents whose actions we cannot accept as morally permissible.).
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