Why it is Disrespectful to Violate Rights: Contractualism and the Kind-Desire Theory

Philosophical Studies 175 (1):97-116 (2018)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
The most prominent theories of rights, the Will Theory and the Interest Theory, notoriously fail to accommodate all and only rights-attributions that make sense to ordinary speakers. The Kind-Desire Theory, Leif Wenar’s recent contribution to the field, appears to fare better in this respect than any of its predecessors. The theory states that we attribute a right to an individual if she has a kind-based desire that a certain enforceable duty be fulfilled. A kind-based desire is a reason to want something which one has simply in virtue of being a member of a certain kind. Rowan Cruft objects that this theory creates a puzzle about the relation between rights and respect. In particular, if rights are not grounded in aspects of the particular individuals whose rights they are, how can we sustain the intuitive notion that to violate a right is to disrespect the right-holder? I present a contractualist account of respect which reconciles the Kind-Desire Theory with the intuition that rights-violations are disrespectful. On this account, respect for a person is a matter of acknowledging her legitimate authority to make demands on the will and conduct of others. And I argue that kind-based desires authorize a person to make demands even if they do not correspond to that person’s well-being or other non-relational features.
Reprint years
2017, 2018
ISBN(s)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
SCHWII-16
Upload history
Archival date: 2021-01-06
View other versions
Added to PP index
2017-01-08

Total views
56 ( #50,586 of 2,432,313 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
15 ( #40,388 of 2,432,313 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.