On Norman Wilde’s “The Meaning of Rights”

Ethics 125 (2):543-545, (2015)
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In “The Meaning of Rights,” Norman Wilde offers an original account of rights, still of interest. Rights, he contends, are possessed by an individual by virtue of the social function she fulfills. It is because individuals belong to a common social order, in which each has her part to play, that they are “entitled to the conditions necessary for playing it” [288]. This approach allows for a nuanced view, according to which rights are neither absolutely inherent to the individual nor entirely dependent on social conventions. But is such a function-based justification of rights plausible?
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