The Definition of a Right

Jurisprudence 3 (2):319-339 (2012)
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Some version of the will theory and the interest theory of rights attempt to provide a precise and normatively neutral definition of a right that would be useful in substantive normative debates and that corresponds reasonably well with usage in our political and legal culture. But there is an irresolvable tension in this project. Consistent application of a definition of a right cannot plausible track ordinary usage without invoking underlying normative propositions about the justifications for granting rights. Thus, definitional approaches to rights are too demanding to serve either the descriptive purpose of providing a neutral vocabulary or the normative purpose of usefully discussing the rights we ought to have. For descriptive purposes, it would be better to retreat, if necessary, to the Hohfeldian idea that a right is nothing more than the correlate of a duty; for normative purposes, it would be better to address directly the political justification for characterizing a particular legal as creating a right



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What Is the Will Theory of Rights?David Frydrych - 2019 - Ratio Juris 32 (4):455-472.

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References found in this work

The metaphysics of morals.Immanuel Kant - 1797/1996 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Mary J. Gregor.
The Nature of Rights.Leif Wenar - 2005 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 33 (3):223-252.
A hybrid theory of claim-rights.Gopal Sreenivasan - 2005 - Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 25 (2):257-274.
Theories of Rights: Is There a Third Way?Matthew H. Kramer & Hillel Steiner - 2005 - Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 27 (2):281-310.

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