GOV 382M • Concept of Rights
3:30 PM-6:30 PM
We will begin with Judith Jarvis Thompson's THE REALM OF RIGHTS, taking this as carrying the analysis of the concept of rights a good part of the way, but posing a number of questions for further discussion. We will then take up the approach to a more formal analysis in my THREE TESTS FOR DEMOCRACY and the fully formal analysis in the last chapter of LOGIC ON THE TRACK OF SOCIAL CHANGE (which I co-wrote with several co-authors). We will go on to compare the consequentialist interpretation in Wayne Sumner's THE MORAL FOUNDATION OF RIGHTS. Can rights be consequentialist and yet universal? We shall try to answer this question by drawing on current French authors who support universal human rights and by drawing, too, upon the philosopher who inspired them, Johann Gottlieb Fichte. The seminar will conclude by considering arguments by Mary Ann Glendon and others intended to limit the multiplication of rights.