Philosophy 2810F/G Chapter Notes -Individual And Group Rights, Legal Personality, Group Representation

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Published on 12 Jul 2012
School
Western University
Department
Philosophy
Course
Philosophy 2810F/G
Professor
READINGS WEEK 1 LECT 1
GROUP RIGHTS AND OPPRESSION PETER JONES
Has regarded the proposition that groups can hold rights with a mixture of scepticism
and suspicion
Revival stemmed from a resigned acceptance that some longstanding and widely
espoused rights
New worries about the fate of ethnic and cultural minorities and from doubts about
whether the concern and respect due to those minorities can be adequately secured
What is fundamentally important for people relates to identities that they can possess
and to practices in which they can engage only in association with others
Moral rather than legal rights
GROUP RIGHTS AND INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS
A right is a group right only if it is a right held by a group rather than by its members
severally
A right is a group right only if it is a right held by a group
Relating a right to a characteristic that individuals share with others does not transform
it into a group right
Rights can also be associated with group membership and group activity without being
group rights
Rights that relate to group membership and group activity need not be group rights
If groups are accorded constitutional rights to representation qua groups, these
constitutional rights must be group rights
May be grounded in moral rights of individual citizens
Group representation may also be justified as a way of protecting goods to which groups
are entitled only as groups
Claims of right do not always divide themselves analytically into group rights or
individual rights
THE COLLECTIVE
Collective conception: Raz subscribes to the interest theory of rights and his version of
that theory has been widely adopted by others
Individual can have rights if and only if either his wellbeing is of ultimate value or he is
an artificial person (for example, a corporation)
My interest yields a right only if it is an interest sufficiently significant to create a duty
for another or others
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Rights ground duties
Can have moral rights rights if those who make up the group possess a join interesting
good that justifies the imposition of duties upon others
Any set of individuals who possess a joint interest in a good can have group rights
relating to that good provided that their joint interest is sufficiently significant to create
duties for others
Group rights groups that possess rights can be sets of individuals who share nothing
but an interest on a specific matter
Interrelated and interdependent interests have moral significance only as the interests
of individuals
Reaume adopt a more discriminating conception of group rights by being more selective
about the kind of good to which a group can have a right
Some public goods might reasonably be the objects of individual rights
Hence, although a group can have a right only to a public good (a good public to the
group) not all rights to public goods need be group rights
Participatory goods goods which by their very nature must be enjoyed publicly if they
are to be enjoyed at all
These goods need not be participatory or even public in all of their aspects
Only groups can have rights to participatory public goods
Understand ground rights as rights to participatory goods
Rights to participatory goods can only be group rights
THE COPPORATE CONCEPTION
To violate a right is to wrong the holder of the right. It is to fail to do what is owed to the
right holder
Moral standing is a precondition of right holding
A moral right is a moral title and only beings possessed of moral standing can possess
entitlements which are sources of moral obligation for others
There need be no suggestion that a group has moral standing that is somehow separate
from and not wholly reducible to the moral standing of the several individuals who
constitute the group
What distinguishes a group as a group for right holding purposes is quite different for
the corporate than the collective conception
Cultural features commonly possessed by groups
Wellbeing of individuals who share in those features is generally best served by their
having a collective right of self determination
A nation, in so far as it bears rights is an interest group
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Document Summary

Has regarded the proposition that groups can hold rights with a mixture of scepticism and suspicion. Revival stemmed from a resigned acceptance that some longstanding and widely espoused rights. New worries about the fate of ethnic and cultural minorities and from doubts about whether the concern and respect due to those minorities can be adequately secured. What is fundamentally important for people relates to identities that they can possess and to practices in which they can engage only in association with others. A right is a group right only if it is a right held by a group rather than by its members severally. A right is a group right only if it is a right held by a group. Relating a right to a characteristic that individuals share with others does not transform it into a group right. Rights can also be associated with group membership and group activity without being group rights.

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