The correlativity of rights and obligations is one of the few stock topics in the basic repertory of English-speaking philosophy th-t is considered suitable for assignment to philosophers specializing in political philosophy. It is a topic perennially discussed, chiefly for reasons that have little to do with its importance: namely, just because it is a recognized topic and because it appears to be a safely tidy one that lends itself readily to being tidied up further by formal or quasi-formal considerations. (...) For my part, I wish more effort went into discussing less tractable subjects like the individuation of rights and their delimitation vis-à-vis one another.What I have to contribute to the subject of correlativity, returning to the scene of my comments on David Lyons’ paper, “The Correlativity of Rights and Duties,” is mainly a stint of annual or biennial repair-work, designed to restore the obvious — the truth that rights do imply obligations and cannot be understood without accepting this implication. (shrink)
Models of culture and representations of changes in culture as changes between such models can be validated without making unreasonable departures from the validating conditions for basic narratives. Von Wright's logic of norms provides a useful analysis of the concept of rule and hence a basis for constructing models of cultures as systems of rules. As illustrations from historical work on the eighteenth-century origins of the British permanent civil service and on administrative developments in Tudor England show, the logic of (...) norms brings to light the logical issues that are of critical importance to changes in culture. These issues, like the models on which they depend, involve human expectations through involving human conventions; but one must also acknowledge parallel systems of description which can figure in covering-law explanations. (shrink)
Natural law theory founds moral judgments on what, given the nature of human beings and ever-present circumstances, enables people to live together in thriving communities. The cognitive features of moral judgments--the claims of literal truth for these judgments about these matters and the readiness to have the judgments stand or fall with the evidence for those claims come front and centre with this characterization of natural law theory. Both what is good for human beings and what it is right and (...) wrong for them to do are matters of fact implied by what is required for their thriving; and so it is reasonable to hold that natural law theory is a variety of moral realism. So, if Hume is not a moral realist, he is not a natural law theorist. But I shall argue that Hume is not a moral realis; and this is what I shall undertake to do, in the course of establishing that he is a natural law theorist, indeed, a human nature natural law theorist. (shrink)
My point of departure in the book Meeting Needs was the conviction that the concept of needs has moral force, but the force has been dissipated and anyway made hard to see by multiple complications including but not confined to multiple abuses. I now think that is only half the problem.