By C.P. Wellman
An method of Rights includes fifteen formerly released yet in most cases inaccessible papers that jointly convey the advance of 1 of the extra vital modern theories of the character, grounds and useful implications of rights. In a protracted 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 point of view either on his personal conception and on replacement theories from which he borrows, or that he rejects. those essays establish the issues any enough idea of rights needs to resolve, describe the extra believable ideas and weigh the benefits of every. they are going to be of distinct curiosity to any reader excited by criminal idea, 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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Extra resources for An Approach to Rights: Studies in the Philosophy of Law and Morals
But this is not so even in the case of legal rights. On the other hand, they often coincide in the case of moral rights because it is not unusual for moral norms to be respected. The deep and difficult question is whether by introducing the words 'if respected' into my definition of a right I really solved or merely disguised a fundamental weakness in my functional conception of rights. Can moral rights be said to have a function in anything like the sense that rights have a function in a legal system?
The crucial moral reason, and the proximate ground of the moral duty not to injure, is that bodily injuries harm the victim and those associated with her in a variety of ways. That injuring someone harms is a reason for any agent not to injure. But this alone does not explain the bindingness of this moral obligation. The other part of the explanation is that those who harm others are dangerous so that 'any chance member of the community', to borrow the language of Bentham, has a reason to attempt to reduce this danger to herself and others by imposing informal sanctions upon those who harm anyone.
Therefore, it may remain useful to respond negatively to any moral agent who fails to do his duty even when it would not be useful for him to fulfill his moral obligation. Thus, I could agree with Dworkin that there could not be any adequate actutilitarian theory of the grounds of moral rights while at the same time defending my reasons-utilitarian account. 10. HUMAN RIGHTS AND JUDICIAL DISCRETION ln the United States, as in many other countries, there has been and remains a vigorous, even violent, disagreement over the moral permissibility of abortion.