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Hart’s Theory Of Rights 1 HART’S THEORY OF RIGHTS by [Name] Course Professor’s Name Institution Location of Institution Date
Hart’s Theory Of Rights 2 Hart’s Theory of Rights The conversation of rights to foster understanding is a vast topic that scholars have indulged in greatly. The topic questions the need for rights, relevance in daily lives, and its applicability. Some academics that have contributed to the field include Thomas Hobes, who acknowledges the importance of rights by reflecting the war-like nature of human beings to the things around them and even to each other. 1 Therefore, he implies that the relevance of rights is to ensure that people are not intruding on each other's spaces. Another influential intellectual that provides insight into the topic is Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld, who acknowledges the ambiguity of rights in their understanding. 2 Hohfeld aims to reduce this ambiguity by categorizing rights into four main categories, a claim-right to x, a liberty-right to x, power-right over x, and immunity- right over x. 3 Although Hohfeld analysis offers an understanding of rights, it does not explain its functions. Resultantly, Hart’s Theory of Rights, is a response to Hohfeld’s observation. Harts' theory of rights implies that rights make every individual a power or a sovereign, which is arguably, true. The key argument raised by Hart in the observation that "A rights-holder is a 'small-scale sovereign" is that rights give people the option of shaping their life to their will, which can be exemplified through the Hohfeldian analysis. All scholars, whether they agree or disagree with the position taken by Hart that the sole purpose of rights is to offer people liberty, they agree with Hohfeld’s observation, which makes the basis of the Hart theory and the Interest Theory of rights. Hohfeld clusters rights into claim, liberty and power rights. A sovereign is a government or a state, whose defining future is that it holds power over themselves and the people around 1 David Luban. "Just war and human rights." Philosophy & Public Affairs (1980): 160-181. 2 Newcomb Hohfeld. "Fundamental legal conceptions." Nottingham LJ 17 (2008): 39. 3 ibid
Hart’s Theory Of Rights 3 them. According to Merriam Webster dictionary, a sovereign is an individual that holds absolute political powers such as a queen or king. 4 The second definition by the dictionary is a person that exercises ultimate power within a certain area or limited space. For example, a country is a sovereign or dictates power over its geographical area. Hart’s theory explains rights to be provisions that enable their holders the privilege of deciding what to or not to do, with their lives, and what other people can or cannot do to them. In the sense of the definition of sovereign stated above, it is correct.

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