Canadian Journal of Philosophy 9 (1):23 - 41 (1979)

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Abstract
In his book, Taking Rights Seriously Prof. Dworkin argues that all elements of society — citizens, legislature, and courts — ought to be ‘taking rights seriously’ in reaching decisions both about the actions and design of public institutions. This has two aspects. First in accord with traditional rights-centred views, there are certain ways of treating individuals that rights rule out. Formally, rights are ‘political trumps held by individuals’; they deny society certain kinds of access to collective goals. Materially, rights can be seen as an expression of equal concern for each citizen as a human being; to deny a right is to ‘insult’ a person by failing to treat him as an equal of other persons, that is, as deserving the same basic respect as others. Secondly, and in contrast to the traditional natural rights view, Dworkin presents a particular way of reasoning about rights that does not presuppose their existence as Platonic entities; instead, rights are discovered in the process of constructing a theory which plausibly accounts for both the letter and the spirit of our society's institutional actions.
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DOI 10.1080/00455091.1979.10716234
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