The language of rights and conceptual history

Journal of Religious Ethics 37 (2):193-207 (2009)
Abstract
The historical problem about the origins of the language of rights derives its importance from the conceptual problem: of "two fundamentally different ways of thinking about justice," which is basic? Is justice unitary or plural? This in turn opens up a problem about the moral status of human nature. A narrative of the origins of "rights" is an account of how and when a plural concept of justice comes to the fore, and will be based on the occurrence of definite speech-forms—the occurrence of the plural noun in the sense of "legal properties." The history of this development is currently held to begin with the twelfth-century canonists. Later significant thresholds may be found in the fourteenth, sixteenth, and eighteenth centuries. Wolterstorff's attempt to find the implicit recognition of rights in the Scriptures depends very heavily on what he takes to be implied rather than on what is stated, and at best can establish a pre- history of rights-language
Keywords moral ontology  conceptual history  singular rights  multiple rights  modernity  justice
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9795.2009.00382.x
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References found in this work BETA
Justice: Rights and Wrongs.Nicholas Wolterstorff - 2010 - Princeton University Press.
Natural Right and History (Chicago, 1953).Leo Strauss - 1953 - The Correspondence Between Ethical Egoists and Natural Rights Theorists is Considerable Today, as Suggested by a Comparison of My" Recent Work in Ethical Egoism," American Philosophical Quarterly 16 (2):1-15.

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Citations of this work BETA
Justice as Inherent Rights: A Response to My Commentators.Nicholas Wolterstorff - 2009 - Journal of Religious Ethics 37 (2):261-279.
Agency, Patiency, and The Good Life: The Passivities Objection to Eudaimonism.Micah Lott - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (3):773-786.

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