By Rex Martin
The justification of political authority is a long-standing factor of political philosophy, one that over and over defies answer. This e-book offers an unique justification via developing a framework for facing this challenge. The version that emerges is one during which sure varieties of political rights are emphasised. Martin discusses the consequences of any such method for democratic associations, political allegiance, punishment, and finally for the character of political authority.
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Additional resources for A System of Rights
A second conclusion we could draw is that whatever the right is to— considered determinately—it must be to something distributable, something that could (practicably speaking) be given to or provided for or engaged in by those who are relevantly said to be the rightholder(s). For any given right must define a class such that every member is assigned the thing in question. Thus, in the story, the people (presumably all those who live in the forest) are said to be the rightholders and all have the right of going to the pond on any of several paths, this one included.
First, let us take the important features that I have identified in my account of rights as established ways of acting. Thus we would say: (i) that a right is to something which is both determinate and distributable, (2) that the right is individuated, (3) that the ground of this individuation—the establishment in the defining rule of a capacity on the part of each rightholder to the benefit in question—is social ratification, (4) that this ratification is or could be supported as explanatorily reasonable, by resort to standard means-end reasoning.
Thus, in the story, the people (presumably all those who live in the forest) are said to be the rightholders and all have the right of going to the pond on any of several paths, this one included. Going along on this particular path was something the relevant persons physically could do; in that way, clearly, it was distributable. But the sense in which we are interested is whether the capacity so to walk is itself parceled out to each of them in the defining rule, as it was presumably in the right we are discussing.
A System of Rights by Rex Martin