By Samuel Stoljar (auth.)
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Extra resources for An Analysis of Rights
But this sense, it is quickly seen, gives us little help in relation to rights, for it does not explain whether, or how, rights exist even if we do recognise the interest; the interest only reveals our motives for certain actions, including the reasons for our grievances or the reasons why we seek certain rights. To identify an interest, therefore, only tells half the story, the half in fact we already know, if only because, in this context, we can be supposed fully to know what we desire or want.
A duty, it is true, may not always be very efficacious in its protective effects; it is, nevertheless, the existence of such a duty that makes for the answerability of the claim, its answerability in principle. It goes without saying that the present claims do not refer to grievances for which nobody carries responsibility. If my grievance is that I am not a gifted painter or pianist, this is not something anybody can help. Nor are we speaking about a right to feel pleased, and so on, for these are merely customary forms of vindicating a self-congratulatory attitude where I might otherwise be vulnerable to a charge of conceit or vanity.
8 But, as Lyons further contends, when we turn from such passiye to more active examples this conceptual corelativity loosens considerably; for though rights and duties still denote ordered pairs, the respective contents of these pairs are no longer so matching as before. Suppose A is publicly holding forth against his country being at war when he is attacked by some private citizens with more bellicose views. Now, it is thought, A's right to speak has less straightforward correlatives. The duty of other citizens not to interfere is not quite the same as the previous debtor's duty to pay.
An Analysis of Rights by Samuel Stoljar (auth.)