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A System of Rights by Rex Martin

By Rex Martin

The justification of political authority is a long-standing factor of political philosophy, one that over and over defies resolution. This e-book presents an unique justification by means of developing a framework for facing this challenge. The version that emerges is one within which sure types of political rights are emphasised. Martin discusses the consequences of this type of method for democratic associations, political allegiance, punishment, and finally for the character of political authority.

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Example text

Part of the formula, together with the statement of aim expressed (if only implicitly) in the endorsement tell us how that individual (as second party) should act, in some generic sense of 'should'. , morally should forbear doing B insofar as it interferes with or prevents A). If the maxim or rule, as expressed in the endorsement, is of a legal nature, then we are saying that the second party legally should do X: that that person is legally required not to do B, that he or she is legally prohibited from doing B.

That is so. But the way of acting is the rightholder's; it is, or essentially involves, something the rightholder does or can do. Or that others, acting on the rightholder's behalf, do or can do. Not so with the right not to be tortured. The two rights we are discussing are classical in character; the right to life and the right not to be tortured clearly were contemplated by the The Concept of Rights 41 philosophers and manifesto writers of an earlier time. S. Constitution. Thus, if we intended, when we talk of rights, that the specified way of acting is to be the rightholder's way of acting, we run afoul of the fact that some important rights are not captured by such an analysis.

And the coherence of that conception has been made out, at least as regards the connection of the element of normative direction with the other main factors. We have seen that this element is not an adventitious feature, a mere historical happenstance, within the concept of rights; rather, 40 The Concept of Rights it belongs there—insofar as rights are accredited ways of acting, having these other main features—in virtue of the character of practical reasoning. 5. WAYS OF ACTING AND WAYS OF BEING TREATED I want to turn next to a further consideration, one that on reflection forces an expansion in my account.

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