By C.P. Wellman
An method of Rights includes fifteen formerly released yet ordinarily inaccessible papers that jointly express the improvement of 1 of the extra very important modern theories of the character, grounds and useful implications of rights. In an extended retrospective essay, Carl Wellman explains what he used to be attempting to accomplish in each one paper, how a ways he believes that he succeeded and the place he failed. therefore the writer presents a serious viewpoint either on his personal thought and on replacement theories from which he borrows, or that he rejects. those essays determine the issues any enough thought of rights needs to remedy, describe the extra believable recommendations and weigh the advantages of every. they are going to be of designated curiosity to any reader excited about felony concept, ethical philosophy or any department of utilized ethics or social coverage within which appeals to rights are usually made yet seldom rationally satisfactory.
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Additional resources for An Approach to Rights: Studies in the Philosophy of Law and Morals
It might mean 'the person deserves to receive that thing'. No doubt assertions about what is due to someone often should be understood in terms of desert; but in this sense, what is due to someone is irrelevant to the definition of rights. To be sure, the ground of one's right is sometimes that one has earned that thing, as one's wages, or has become worthy of it, as some reward. But no such conception is implicit in the very nature of rights. An idle and selfish son has a legal, and perhaps a moral, right to his inheritance even though he is most undeserving and has done nothing to earn it.
Here and in all subsequent publications I have used the word 'dominion' rather than 'autonomy' to refer to the freedom-control that is an essential feature of every right. I made this change because the word 'autonomy' is used in a number of different senses in jurisprudence and moral philosophy. Unfortunately, my meaning was often confused with one of the other meanings of this highly ambiguous word, for example the sense in which it might be said that the constitutional right to privacy is really the right to personal autonomy.
This would explain what distinguishes claiming, in the relevant sense, from threatening, as Hart's gunman does, or petitioning for a favor, as a beggar might. Why did I choose to ignore this plausible view of the connection between justice and rights? It is because I then thought, and still believe, that it is unilluminating. What could it mean to say that something is 'due to' someone? This expression is far too obscure to be a useful primitive in any adequate theory. The obvious intetpretation is to hold that to assert that something is due to one means that one has a right to it.