Skip to main content
×
×
Home

The Construction of Rights

  • KEITH DOWDING (a1) and MARTIN VAN HEES (a2)
Abstract

This paper examines the sense in which rights can be said to exist. We examine various approaches to the definition and analysis of rights, focusing in particular on the compossibility of rights. Concentrating on three existing approaches to rights—social choice-theoretic, game-theoretic, and Steiner's approach—we suggest that rights are noncompossible in any interesting sense, that is, that the rights people have are nonexistent or vanishingly small. We develop an alternative account of rights—which we claim is more in tune with moral intuitions—where compossibility is not important and rights cannot form the exclusive basis of morality or a theory of justice. Rights are constructed on the basis of more fundamental moral values. We demonstrate how they are constructed and the sense in which they exist even though they might not always be exercised, while acknowledging that rights that may never be exercised are hardly worth the name.We would like to thank Cecile Fabre, Ruth Kinna, Matt Kramer, Anna Pilatova, three anonymous referees, and participants at the Analysis of Measurement of Freedom conference in Palermo, Italy, September 2001, the 2002 meeting of the Dutch Political Science Association, and the Economic Decisions Conference in Pamplona, Spain, June 2002, for their comments on earlier versions of this paper.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Arrow Kenneth J. 1995 A Note on Freedom and Flexibility Choice, Welfare and Development: A Festschrift in Honour of Amartya K. Sen K. Basu P. Pattanaik K. Suzumura Oxford Clarendon Press
Blau Peter 1975 Liberal Values and Independence Review of Economic Studies 42 395 401
Calvert Randall L. 1995 The Rational Choice Theory of Institutions: Cooperation, Coordination and Communication Modern Political Economy. Old Topics, New Directions S. Jeffrey Banks Eric A. Hanushek Cambridge Cambridge University Press
Carter Ian 1999 A Measure of Freedom Oxford Oxford University Press
Dowding Keith 1991 Rational Choice and Political Power Aldershot Elgar
Dowding Keith 1992 Choice: Its Increase and Its Value British Journal of Political Science 22 301-14
Feinberg Joel 1980 Rights, Justice, and the Bounds of Liberty Princeton, NJ Princeton University Press
Fleurbaey Marc Hees Martin van 2000 On Rights in Game Forms Synthese 123 295 326
Gaertner W. Pattanaik P. K. Suzumura K 1992 Individual Rights Revisited Economica 59 161 177
Gärdenfors P. 1981 Rights, Games and Social Choice Noûs 15 341-56
Gekker Ruvin 1985 On the Inconsistency of a Weak Version of the Libertarian Principle Economic Letters 18 21 25
Gibbard Alan 1974 A Pareto-Consistent Libertarian Claim Journal of Economic Theory 7 388 410
Gibbard Alan 1982 Rights and the Theory of Social Choice Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science Vol. 6 L. J. Cohen, J. Los, H. Pfeiffer, K.-P. Podewski Amsterdam North-Holland, 595-605
Goodin Robert E. 1986 Laundering Preferences Foundations of Social Choice Theory Jon Elster Aanund Hylland Cambridge Cambridge University Press
Hammond Peter 1996 Game Forms versus Social Choice Rules as Models of Rights Social Choice Re-examined K. J. Arrow, A. Sen, K. Suzumura Basingstoke Macmillan 82–95
Hintikka Jaakko 1969 Existential Presuppositions and Their Elimination Models for Modalities. Selected Essays J. Hintikka Dordrecht D. Reidel 23–44
Kramer Matthew 1998 Rights without Trimmings A Debate Over Rights Matthew Kramer N. E. Simmonds Hillel Steiner Oxford Oxford University Press
Kramer Matthew 2001 Getting Rights Right Rights, Wrongs and Responsibilities Matthew Kramer. London Palgrave
Kramer Matthew 2002 Why Freedoms Do Not Exist in Degrees. Political Studies 50 2 230-43
Mill John Stuart. 1848 On Liberty London John W. Parker and Sons
Nozick Robert 1974 Anarchy, State and Utopia Oxford Basil Blackwell
Ostrom Elinor 1991 Rational Choice Theory and Institutional Analysis: Toward Complementarity American Political Science Review 85 237-43
Pattanaik Prasanta 1996 On Modelling Individual Rights: Some Conceptual Issues Social Choice Re-examined K. J. Arrow A. Sen K. Suzamura Basingstoke Macmillan 100–128
Pattanaik Prasanta K. Xu Yongsheng 1990 On Ranking Opportunity Sets in Terms of Freedom of Choice Recherches Economiques de Louvain 56 383-90
Pattanaik Prasanta Yongsheng Xu 1998 On Preference and Freedom Theory and Decision 44 173-98
Primus Richard A. 1999 The American Language of Rights Cambridge Cambridge University Press
Quine Willard van Orman. 1939 Designation and Existence Journal of Philosophy 36 701-9
Quine Willard van Orman. 1953 From a Logical Point of View New York Harper and Row
Quine Willard Van Orman. 1970 Philosophy of Logic Englwood Cliffs, NJ Prentice–Hall
Rawls John 1971 (1999) A Theory of Justice Oxford Oxford University Press (rev. ed. Cambridge: Belknap Press)
Rawls John 1982 The Basic Liberties and Their Priority The Tanner Lectures on Human Values III S. M. McMurrin Salt Lake City University of Utah Press
Rescher Nicholas 1978 The Equivocality of Existence Studies in Ontology: American Philosophical Quarterly Monograh Series N. Rescher Oxford Basil Blackwell
Rosenbaum Eckehard F. 2000 On Measuring Freedom Journal of Theoretical Politics 12 2 205-27
Schotter A. 1981 The Economic Theory of Social Institutions Cambridge Cambridge University Press
Sen Amartya 1982 Liberty, Unanimity and Rights Choice, Welfare and Measurement Oxford Oxford University Press 291–326
Sen Amartya 1991 Welfare, Preference and Freedom Journal of Econometrics 50 15 29
Sen Amartya 1992 Minimal Liberty Economica 59 139-59
Sened Itai 1997 The Political Institution of Private Property Cambridge Cambridge University Press
Steiner Hillel 1975 Individual Liberty Aristotelian Society Proceedings NS 75 33 50
Steiner Hillel 1994 An Essay on Rights Oxford Blackwell
Steiner Hillel 1998 Working Rights A Debate Over Rights Mathew H. Kramer N. E. Simmonds Hillel Steiner Oxford Oxford University Press
Stevens D. N. Foster J. E. 1978 The Possibility of Democratic Pluralism Economica 45 391 400
Sugden Robert 1998 The Metric of Opportunity Economics and Philosophy 14 307-37
Suzumura Kotaro 1991 Alternative Approaches to Libertarian Rights in the Theory of Social Choice Issues in Contemporary Economics, Vol 1: Markets and Welfare Kenneth Arrow Basingstoke Macmillan
Taylor Michael 1982 Community, Anarchy and Liberty Cambridge Cambridge University Press
Van Hees Martin 1995 Rights and Decisions: Formal Models of Law and Liberalism Dordrecht Kluwer
Van Hees Martin 1999 Liberalism, Efficiency, and Stability: Some Possibility Results Journal of Economic Theory 88 294 309
Van Hees Martin 2000 Legal Reductionism and Freedom Dordrecht Kluwer
Van Hees Martin 2000 Negative Freedom and the Liberal Paradoxes Rationality and Society 12 3 335-52
Waldron Jeremy 1989 Rights in Conflict Ethics 99 503-16
Wellman Carl 1995 Real Rights New York Oxford University Press
Wellman Carl 1998 The Proliferation of Rights: Moral Progress or Empty Rhetoric? Boulder, CO Westview Press
Wriglesworth John L. 1985 Libertarian Conflicts in Social Choice Cambridge Cambridge University Press
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed