How to Talk About Rights. What is a right?. “What people are entitled to have or do or receive.” -- John Mackie
“P has a right to X” only if:
1) P has the moral freedom (is not morally obligated not ) to have, do, or be X.
2) Others are obliged not to interfere with
Conventional Rights are rights that depend on human agreement.
Since Legal Rights are created through human agreement, legal rights are conventional rights.
All Legal Rights are Conventional, but not all Conventional Rights are Legal.
In place of the theory of the Divine Right of Kings, John Locke proposed a theory of Natural Rights.
This right is bestowed by a deity who ordains some as being fit to rule. The Chinese called their emperor “the son of heaven.”
“Is it the case that Yao gave the Empire to Shun?” said Wan Chang.
“No. The emperor cannot give the Empire to another.”
“In that case, when Shun possessed the Empire, who gave it to him?”
“Heaven gave it to him.”
“When Heaven gave it to him, did it decree it in so many words?”
“No. Heaven does not speak, it simply reveals through deeds and affairs.”
Locke holds that each man has a “...Right…to his Natural Freedom, without being subject to the Will or Authority of any other Man.”
-- Passed: February 26, 1869; Ratified: February 3, 1870.
-- Passed: June 4, 1919; Ratified: August 18, 1920
Tom Regan: “The concept of moral rights differs in important ways from that of legal rights… moral rights, if there are any, are universal... An individual’s race, sex, religion, place of birth, or country of domicile are not relevant characteristics for the possession of moral rights.”
The Case for Animal Rights, p. 267
Race, sex, religion, place of origin, and nationality are all irrelevant to Moral Rights.
Conscious Subjects or Patients
Persons or Agents
The right to raid Alt’s refrigerator
Non Human Mammals:
Humans: Natural or Human Rights?
Persons: Conventional Rights
1) Moral Patients that are not agents, and
2) Moral Patients that are agents, namely: human agents.
b) no matter what else is true.
For 2. is ambiguous between:
2 a) “X can be valued” which is trivial, and
2 b) “X is worthy of being valued” which is clearly not entailed by 1.
Natural or Human? Moral, etc.
Legal, Professional, etc.
Human, Natural, Moral?
Professional or Legal?
Can it be created?
Can it be enforced?
How do you know?
Is it being enforced?