Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (4):469-490 (2010)
In this paper1 i intend to elucidate a thesis that lies at the heart of Fichte’s theory of rights. This thesis states that rights are the essential foundation of rational political order not only because they govern relations among human beings but also because they help them to realize themselves as free agents. In Fichte’s words, rights are the “conditions” under which human beings can become aware of themselves as “self-positing subjects.”2 This thesis calls for the rejection of the claim central to natural rights theories that the main task of rights is to protect liberties that human beings have by virtue of their “natural” or “God-given” qualities.3 This is because Fichte’s thesis implies that ..
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