By C.P. Wellman
An method of Rights includes fifteen formerly released yet often inaccessible papers that jointly exhibit the advance of 1 of the extra vital modern theories of the character, grounds and sensible implications of rights. In a protracted retrospective essay, Carl Wellman explains what he was once attempting to accomplish in each one paper, how some distance he believes that he succeeded and the place he failed. hence the writer offers a severe viewpoint either on his personal concept and on replacement theories from which he borrows, or that he rejects. those essays establish the issues any sufficient idea of rights needs to resolve, describe the extra believable recommendations and weigh the benefits of every. they are going to be of detailed curiosity to any reader considering felony concept, ethical philosophy or any department of utilized ethics or social coverage within which appeals to rights are often made yet seldom rationally satisfactory.
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Extra resources for An Approach to Rights: Studies in the Philosophy of Law and Morals
Although there are a number of articulate and plausible theories of the nature of rights and some very careful and illuminating discussions of the logical relations between rights and duties and ofthe qualifications necessary to be a right-holder, there are few if any accounts of the grounds of moral rights that are clearly formulated and cogently argued. It is only natural, therefore, that several jurists and moral philosophers have attempted to ground human rights on justice using one of the powerful and plausible theories of social justice recently developed.
I suggest that only an adequate theory of the grounds of moral rights could solve these problems and thereby render reasoning from asserted rights useful in political and moral controversies. Two lines of reasoning converge in my account of the grounds of moral rights in this paper. One, of course, begins with my conception of a right. A right is a complex structure of Hohfeld elements with a defining core together with a variety of associated elements. Presumably, any reason or set of reasons adequate to establish the existence of any right must be capable of grounding all the liberties, claims, powers and immunities that constitute that right.
Legally valid human rights will be those identified and defined by the texts accepted as authoritative by the courts. This is because constitutional law, like law more generally, is a text-based practice. In this article I accepted the view of Stephen Munzer and James Nickel (Munzer & Nickel 1977, pp. 1029 & 1045) because it seemed to me SEEKING A THEORY OF RIGHTS 35 to combine the virtues of American legal realism with those of a credible legal positivism. ' Preswnably those unenumerated rights are those fundamental moral rights that were traditionally called natural rights and are today called human rights.
An Approach to Rights: Studies in the Philosophy of Law and Morals by C.P. Wellman