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The Nature of Rights

  1. Feb 22, 2004 #1
    What are rights and why are they deserved?

    By what criteria do we decide that one deserves rights?
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  3. Feb 22, 2004 #2


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    Thought experiment 1. You are all alone in the world. Do you have rights? Do you have duties?

    Thought experiment 2. There is one other person in the world with you (vary the sex to make sub experiments). Do you have rights over that person? Do you have duties toward that person? Does the person have rights over you? Duties toward you? How would you determine/allocate the rights and duties?

    Thought experiment 3. You and your family are all by yourselves in the world - make it an extended family, around 10 people. Now what are your rights and duties (a) toward specific individuals, (b) toward any individuals, (c) toward the family as a whole, and (d) through (e) what are the rights and duties of those cases toward you? How do you know?

    We could obviously go further, but already we're getting into complexity. If we can settle these questions, we can try for a tribe, a nation, or the world.
  4. Feb 22, 2004 #3
    Re: Re: The Nature of Rights

    clarification requested please:

    what do rights have to do with duties?
    are you requiring that having rights results in having duties?
    what do you mean by rights (since you introduce the notion of 'having rights over another person')?
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2004
  5. Feb 23, 2004 #4
    Rights are a set of interpersonal behaviors that arise from the inability of one individual to accurate judge another individual. Because of this inability, certain issues (is one man better than another?) cannot be fairly addressed and must be worked around in a "safest possible" sort of manner. The idea is to minimize the possible infractions of these unknown issues. The concept of "rights" embodies this set.

  6. Feb 26, 2004 #5
    If you have rights, then you must have interests to be protected. In order to have interests, you must be able to experience. Therefore, object that cannot experience (ie-nonsentient objects) cannot have rights.

    The idea of having rights rises from knowledge of interests. There is no reason to think that one object's interests mandate rights and that another's interests don't.
  7. Feb 26, 2004 #6


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    I have always thought the idea of natural rights to be a fiction. It is a fiction I like, no doubt about it, but a fiction none the less. You have the rights that you pry out of those in positions of authority over you. The rights listed in the Constitution of the USA are not natural rights. They are the rights that the people have decided that they have; rights they are willing to force their government into honoring.

  8. Feb 26, 2004 #7


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    Well, there you go. The legal system generally regards rights as inherent, irrational, and unnegotiable. They are a matter of principle upon which social ethics are built.
  9. Feb 27, 2004 #8


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    Actually, that is from the Declaration of Independence. It has no weight of law behind it. It is a nice idea, but it won't give you any leverage in court.

    The US Constitution does state that ennumeration of rights does not deny you unlisted rights. So, we Americans have rights that we don't even know about yet! They are like some wonderful mysterious jack-in-the-box. As we turn the little crank and listen to "Pop goes the weasel" I fearfully expect a charicature of John Ashcroft to "POP" out and hit me with my new rights.

  10. Feb 27, 2004 #9


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    Or more likely spit in your eye and take away your latest right.
  11. Feb 29, 2004 #10
    You might want to read the linked item as well, the one at the bottom, before responding....

    So lets look at law, in law, your words, take the meaning of an action, when you can conclusively prove that they have been spoken, and the person you are communicating to/with, has received a copy, ergo you take the original writting/audiotape/electromagnetic recording, of you, to a lawyer, the lawyer stamps the original, and the copies, to certify the authenticity, then transmits the 'certified copies' to the other parties, by means that are verifiably provable, (Certified courrier(s)) and Now, your words, have the meaning of actions.

    This is how you go about 'gaining right' in a sense, usually born from a persons not havng acted upon a responcibility....sorta like you and I contract (together) to do 'something', you (naturally?) fail to live up to the contractual obligation, (your responcibility) that gives me the right to use the legal system to persue you as to try to get the wrong, righted....so I take "actions".

    Rights and obligations are sort of a cause and effect relationship, you fail on an obligation thus handing me the right, I fail at upholding your 'right' and you take me to court to 'oblige' me to make restitution.....inherant rights are things like the right to breath, drink water (if available) eat food (if it is not owned by another) the right to be 'free' as we are all 'born free' sorta, like, "without obligation" but that accrues quickly enough......

    Most rights are "prescribed", or 'written down before' we know the intimate details of any particular case as to attempt to ensure that we do not excersize undue prejudice against "who" we actually proceed against, at the time of prosecution, undo prejudice being pre-prejudices excersized against people we don't like, beforehand, or against an individual a the time of the event for unjustifiable reason....

    Here is a link to another sorta legal topic, appropro to the net...if you like... all of this page might help...*DVD case*
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2004
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