The Concept of Rights

Front Cover
Springer Science & Business Media, Mar 9, 2006 - Law - 253 pages
Discussions of rights are ubiquitous. One constantly hears things such as: “The Chinese are violating Tibetan rights,” “Landlords have a right that their tenants pay their rent,” “Students have a right to be graded fairly,” “Animals have a right not to suffer merely to bring pleasure to humans,” “Abortion violates a fetus’ right to life,” “We violate the rights of future generations when we pollute the water. ” These statements assert that Tibetans, landlords, students, animals, fetuses, and future generations all have rights. Tibetans, landlords, students, animals, fetuses, and future generations do not seem to have much in common. When one presses for clarity, it is very dif?cult to say precisely what a right is. What is it to have a right? That is the question this book seeks to answer. To paint with an overly broad brush, previous answers to this question can be divided into two groups. Some hold interest/bene?t theories of rights while others hold choice/will theories of rights. Perhaps the ?rst person to propose an interest/bene?t theory was Jeremy Bentham. Its most cited contemporary defender is Joseph Raz. The seminal statement of the choice theory was made by H. L. A. Hart. Carl Wellman is perhaps the most able defender of a will theory of rights. The debate between these two groups of theories has been a productive one.
 

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Contents

Rights and Hohfeldian Analysis
1
The Nature of Liberties
6
The Structure of Hohfeldian Relations
11
Disagreements with Hohfeld
17
Agreements with Hohfeld
19
Normative Constraints
25
Liberty and Power Rights
30
Duty Disability Liability and Noclaim Rights
34
Some Implications of the Justifiedconstraint Theory
147
Rights Conflict
157
Prima Facie and Specification
160
The Identity of Prima Facie and Specification
167
Rights Conflict and Arguments
176
Wellmans Examples
187
Trumps
189
Right Holders Present
195

Some Objections
39
Socially Recognized Normative Directions
49
Deontic and Alethic Concepts
63
Hohfeldian and Normative Analysis
72
Valid Claims
75
Moral Rights
77
The Relational Nature of Rights
85
the Interest and Choice Theories
86
Interests that Justify Duties
88
Protected Choices
99
Advantaged Wills
104
Sumners Theorybased Argument for the ChoiceWill Theory
111
Rights Reasons and Persons
117
Simple And Complex Justification
128
Nonrelational Obligations
131
Consequentialism
133
The Individuation of Rights
140
Individuals Groups and Relevant Features
196
Clearing Some Underbrush
200
Individualism Versus Collectivism
204
Right Holders Past and Future
211
The Problem of the Subject
212
Feinbergs Proposed Solution
213
Wellmans Proposed Solution
216
Time and Rights
219
Parfit and the Nonidentity Problem
228
Implications
230
A Final Comparison
233
Problems With Other Theories of Rights
236
Advantages of The JustifiedConstraint Theory
241
References
245
Index
249
Copyright

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