Chapters 3 & 5

Chapters 3 & 5 - Chapter 3 - Rights Human Rights...

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Chapter 3 --- Rights Human Rights Can be thought of as devices that promote long-term utility But are best thought of as protections for individual persons that are of sufficient moral weight to shield us against being sacrificed for the greater good of the majority. Rights in General: Rights are entitlements Entitlements can be contrasted against permissions Difference between having a right to do something and being allowed to do something Justification If you have a right to do something then your claim to that action is justified The justification can be: Institutional Legal Moral Rights can conflict with one another
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My rights may clash with your rights How are our rights justified? Who has more justification? Rights imply obligations Different types of obligations There is a difference between obligations created by rights and obligations created by duty Legal rights Entitlements that are supportable on legal grounds Moral rights Entitlements that are supportable on moral grounds Human rights Rights whose support evolved from the older tradition of natural rights Natural Rights Roots trace all of the way back to ancient Greek philosophy with the sophists Debates over whether justice is conventional or objective Some development in Roman law code under Justinian Natural law saw great development in the middle ages with Thomas Aquinas
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Thought that God had built law to promote human flourishing into our very nature. Aquinas said that natural law is higher than human law because it comes from divine will In the 17 th and 18 th century (Enlightenment), natural law was said to be grounded by reason rather than theology. Natural law was then interpreted as a defense of human liberty and autonomy against oppression of the state Locke, and Jefferson Utilitarianism and Rights Bentham’s utilitarian view was a move away from natural rights Away from ideas of transcendent moral values Right and wrong are relative according to circumstances and consequences Bentham described natural rights as “nonsense upon stilts” Problem with utilitarian rights Promotes oppression of minorities Caused natural rights to reappear in the form of Human rights Human Rights Basically natural rights stripped of all of the philosophical, metaphysical, and theological baggage
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Human rights belong to human beings as such They are said to be the most basic of our moral rights They are general rights not special rights Independent of special arrangements and social institutions They are logically prior to institutions and agreements Inalienable It is always wrong to take away or deny human rights But can presumably be waived by the bearer of the right
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This note was uploaded on 05/03/2010 for the course PLS 207 taught by Professor Lermack during the Spring '10 term at Bradley.

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Chapters 3 & 5 - Chapter 3 - Rights Human Rights...

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