A model of rights
Title: A model of rights
Author: THOMAS, Jean
Series/Number: EUI MWP; 2013/33
This paper articulates a model of rights. It starts from three simple intuitions about what rights are. First, rights protect an interest, that is, something that we value. For example, the right to life protects life, which seems to be obviously valuable. Second, rights are able to protect values because rights impose constraints on the actions of others; in other words, they generate duties. My right to life implies that others may not take or deliberately endanger my life. This second element already implies a third element: that rights arise in relations between people. The model that I set out takes up these three intuitions and hence encompasses three elements: the protection of value, the imposition of constraint, and the situation of rights in relations. The paper proceeds in five stages. First, I address some preliminary questions about the idea of a model of rights as I am using it (1). I then define and describe the elements of value and constraint (2). In the third part I claim that the elements of value and constraint are individually and jointly necessary to a model of rights (3). In the fourth part I establish that constraint and interests are, although jointly necessary, not jointly sufficient to the model of rights, and argue that the element of relational context is necessary to fulfill the conditions of the model (4). In the final section I consider some objections to relationality as an element of rights and conclude (5).
Subject: Rights; Concept of rights; Moral rights; Legal rights
Type of Access: openAccess; openAccess
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