Week 4 Class 1
• We’re studying human rights in the context of public reason – ‘To be is to be justified…’
• The best way to understand public reason is to engage in it.
• I want you to start thinking about strengths & weaknesses of arguments AND making
your own arguments.
• Remember Kant’s motto for the Enlightenment: Think for yourself!
• Is the premise true? In discussing the premise, bring as many of the following on
your side as you can, and defend yourself against the rest
• Does the premise support the conclusion? Why or why not?
o The Premise- Insofar as it is ethically justified, the right to life is a positive right
o Conclusion - Therefore, it is not a negative right.
J.S. Mill (or utilitarianism in general)
• You may also introduce further arguments in support of your position
o Defend yourself against further objections
• Easy on the intro, only explain understanding of the question and state explanation
• Defend objections, add own reasons
• Draw conclusions
• Sum up explanations
o Define clear winner
• Each point online complete in 1 complete sentence o Should have tought through 80% of essay by completetion of online work
• Outline – clearly answer questions online for outline
• No need for citation in outline
Positive vs negative rights
• A right is a negative if:
o Enjoyment of it is meant to require noninterference by others
Through social protection and enforcement may require interference by
What is protects is a negative freedom ( = freedom from interference is a
o Government may have to step in to protect often
• A right is positive is
o Enjoyment of it is meant t require more than noninterference; something has to
be provided or made available to people who need or lack it’s what is protected is
a positive freedom or a capability
o Typically regarded as positive rights
Right to education
Right to fair trial
• To call a right basic means that it is a necessary condition for enjoying (=having the use
an benefits of) any other rights
• Protecting the use and enjoyment of the other rights entails protecting the basic right as