By C.P. Wellman
An method of Rights comprises fifteen formerly released yet regularly inaccessible papers that jointly express the advance of 1 of the extra vital 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 long way he believes that he succeeded and the place he failed. therefore the writer presents a serious viewpoint either on his personal thought and on substitute theories from which he borrows, or that he rejects. those essays establish the issues any enough conception of rights needs to clear up, describe the extra believable ideas and weigh the benefits of every. they are going to be of precise curiosity to any reader inquisitive about criminal idea, ethical philosophy or any department of utilized ethics or social coverage within which appeals to rights are often made yet seldom rationally satisfactory.
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Additional resources for An Approach to Rights: Studies in the Philosophy of Law and Morals
A moral power is the ability to create, modify or extinguish some moral position, for example to impose a moral duty upon oneself by promising to do something or for the promisee to cancel that duty by releasing the promisor. Thus, what needs explanation is how saying something like 'I promise to ... ' or 'I release you from your promise to ... ' can effectuate such changes in the moral situation. Now if the ultimate grounds of any moral duty are a pair of utilities, then the exercise of the power of creating or extinguishing any moral duty must somehow change the relevant values or disvalues.
Unless I have some urgent conflicting obligation, I have the moral right to promise to meet a student in my office this afternoon. A patient has the moral right to change doctors at any time, that is to withdraw from one physician the authority to treat one and to confer this authority upon another physician. And any member of a golf club presumably has the moral right to resign thereby renouncing her membership rights and cancelling her obligation to continue paying monthly dues to the club. Because the defining core of each of these moral rights is an ethical power, one cannot understand the nature of this species of moral rights without understanding the nature of ethical powers.
One even has the ethical power to alienate an entire rights-package, for example by transfering the various rights of ownership in some object to another when one gives it away. Finally, if what is distinctive and most important about rights is their relevance to potential confrontations, as I have argued, then it is essential that any right hold firm against one or more second parties. This requires that essential constituents in any moral right must be moral immunities. Thus, my moral right to possess my philosophical library could not hold against my wife, who desperately wants more space on our bookshelves for her own books, unless it includes my ethical immunity against my wife's giving away my books without my permission.