more from Jonathan Wolff

Single Idea 20514

[catalogued under 25. Social Practice / C. Rights / 1. Basis of Rights]

Full Idea

If natural rights have a fundamental status, and so are not arrived at on the basis of some other argument, how do we know what rights we have?

Gist of Idea

If rights are natural, rather than inferred, how do we know which rights we have?


Jonathan Wolff (An Introduction to Political Philosophy (Rev) [2006], 4 'Liberty')

Book Reference

Wolff,Jonathan: 'An Introduction to Political Philosophy (Rev)' [OUP 2006], p.116

A Reaction

He cites Bentham as using this point. Utilitarianism at least provides a grounding for the identification of possible basic rights. Start from what we want, or what we more objectively need? Human needs, or needs in our present culture?

Related Idea

Idea 20513 If natural rights are axiomatic, there is then no way we can defend them [Wolff,J]