Anne Mcpherson Rights


The rights article first states the definition of what rights are.“Rights are entitlements to perform certain actions or be in certain states, or entitlements that others perform certain actions or be in certain states”. Rights dominate most modern understandings of what actions are proper and also which institutions are just.“Rights structure the forms of our governments, the contents of our laws, and the shape of morality as we perceive it”. Rights have many categories, such as who is alleged to have the right, what actions/states/objects the asserted right pertains to, why the rightholder has the right, and how the asserted right can be affected by the rightholder’s action. In addition, these categories have sub-categories. For example, the rights of political speech are a subclass of the rights of free expression.

The analysis of rights is also very important. The analysis of rights is a description of the internal structure of rights, and a description of what rights do for those who hold them. This helps us understand more precisely how rights are constructed and what they do. Also, Wesley Hohfeld (1879-1918) discovered that there are four basic components of rights. These four basic “elements” are the privilege, the claim, the power, and the immunity and are now called “the Hohfeldian incidents”. Privileges are rights that describe what an individual has no duty to do. Claims are rights that mark out what a person has a duty to do. Power is the incident that explains how people can change or alter other people. Finally, immunity is described as an absence of a power in some other person to alter the rightholder’s normative situation. The privilege and the power are considered active rights that their holders exercise. The claim and the immunity are passive rights that their holders enjoy.

There are two approaches to explain which explain which fundamental rights of conduct there are. These two approaches are deontological and consequentialist. These two approaches differ over the role of consequences in the justification of rights. Some theorists hold that rights should be respected because it is fitting to do so, and not because of the good consequences that will follow. On the other hand, within an instrumental theory good consequences are the justification for making and enforcing rights.

Relation to Themes:
1. In the article it states that rights can come into conflict with one another. We have discussed in class how Ross believes that duties also can come into conflict. Also, we have discussed that certain duties are more important than others in certain situations, this relates to this article because it states that rights conflict. However, one right is not always stronger than the other.

2. Another theme that ties in with what we have discussed in class is the justification of rights and the two approaches: deontological and consequentialist. Deontologists believe that rights should be respected simply because it is the right thing to do, not thinking about the good consequences that will follow. However, consequentialists believe that good consequences are the justification for enforcing rights. We have talked about both of these approaches in class.

1.Should some rights have more power than others?
2. How did certain rights get chosen to become rights?
3. How have rights effected our society overall?

Question 3: Rights are inherent to humans regradless of sex, race.. etc.These "human rights" include both rights and obligations. Whatever the case, rights are necessary in order to protect and fulfill the freedoms granted to all of us.The government for example has to protect our rights entitled to us, and we have to respect the rights given to other individuals as well. Rights affect our society in a positive way by making life as "legally" equal as possible. By giving people these rights, it allows us to represent ourselves in manners we as individuals seem suitable. -Danielle Leaser

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