Get An Introduction to Rights (Cambridge Introductions to PDF

By William A. Edmundson

ISBN-10: 0521008700

ISBN-13: 9780521008709

This available advent to the background, common sense, ethical implications, and political trends of the idea that of rights is geared up chronologically. overlaying such vital occasions because the French Revolution, it really is well-suited as an introductory-level, undergraduate textual content in such classes as political philosophy, ethical philosophy, and ethics. the amount can be utilized in classes on political thought in departments of political technological know-how and executive, and in classes on criminal concept in legislation colleges.

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Extra resources for An Introduction to Rights (Cambridge Introductions to Philosophy and Law)

Example text

And it is impossible to consent to it, because one cannot by consent convey to another what one does not rightfully possess. In a way that answered the exigencies of seventeenth-century England, Locke showed how a monarchy – even a monarchy exercising a broad prerogative “of doing public good without a rule” (95) – could be constructed by the transference of natural rights, while an arbitrary 30 The First Expansionary Era absolutism, such as a tyrannical monarchy, could not. Rights, properly understood, led neither to anarchy nor to tyranny, but explained and justified the outcome of the Glorious Revolution that had brought William and Mary to the English throne.

Governments could be understood as pacts among men, formed to further the aims of sociability. War itself, he concluded, was typically occasioned by rights violations and “ought not to be undertaken except for the enforcement of rights” (18). The preeminence Grotius gave to subjective rights represented a new turn in intellectual history. Rights, in Grotius’s theory, were not limited to property, but extended presumptively to the whole range of an individual’s actions as well, in which she enjoyed a natural liberty.

The problem is insoluble for the simple reason that there is no single best type of life for people of all kinds to lead, and therefore there is no single best kind of political state to facilitate a best life. Grotius is, in modern terms, a pluralist about values. This pluralism, if combined with the idea that governments are essentially compacts among diverse persons holding diverse views of the good life, had more revolutionary implications than what Grotius was willing to draw. The free choice that people have by nature was to be understood to have been already exercised, and governmental forms already to have been decided, leaving in the people no residual right of choice.

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An Introduction to Rights (Cambridge Introductions to Philosophy and Law) by William A. Edmundson


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