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By Rex Martin

The justification of political authority is a long-standing factor of political philosophy, one that over and over defies answer. This ebook presents an unique justification by means of setting up a framework for facing this challenge. The version that emerges is one within which sure forms of political rights are emphasised. Martin discusses the consequences of any such process for democratic associations, political allegiance, punishment, and eventually for the character of political authority.

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Extra resources for A System of Rights

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RIGHTS AND NORMATIVE DIRECTION This view is often put by saying that rights correlate with duties—meaning that a right always implies or has attached some closely related duty of others. 5 The most interesting arguments against correlations of this sort derive from Wesley Hohfeld's classification of rights; on his view a legal right could 30 The Concept of Rights be constituted by any one of four elements: by a claim, but also by a liberty, by a power, or by an immunity. Let me be more specific here.

Thus, it would be the coherence of the idea of a system of rights, in which subsequently each of the authority elements can be shown to have a necessary place, that justifies political authority. Not in general but within a system of rights. For it is within such a system that the authority elements have been successfully linked together. 2. A Plan of Attack It seems, accordingly, that if my sketch of this second approach can be filled in, these conclusions sustained, and the connections they involve amplified, we will have a clearer idea of what is involved in the internal justification of political authority respecting at least one political system.

And so on. The existence of deep philosophical disagreement need not be an occasion for alarm or despair; it could, instead, point the way to a fruitful method of proceeding. Thus, a theory of the character and value of rights might be expected at the very minimum to identify certain crucial issues— where philosophers are divided—and then to sketch out the main grounds of the positions taken. What we would be looking for is the crux, the hinge on which the issue turns, so that it might be resolved one way or the other.

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