Providing for Rights

Dialogue 27 (3):489- (1988)
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Abstract

Gauthier's version of the Lockean proviso (in Morals by Agreement) is inappropriate as the foundation for moral rights he takes it to be. This is so for a number of reasons. It lacks any proportionality test thus allowing arbitrarily severe harms to others to prevent trivial harms to oneself. It allows one to inflict any harm on another provided that if one did not do so, someone else would. And, by interpreting the notion of bettering or worsening one's position in terms of subjective expected utility, it allows immoral manipulation of others and imposes unwarranted restrictions based on preferences that should carry no moral weight.

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Donald Hubin
Ohio State University

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