Rights: A Conceptual Survey

Year: 1986

Author: Smith, W.G.S.

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The recent proliferation of 'rights' in education is in danger of emptying the concept of a right of its content. A fresh analysis of that concept is therefore required. This is preceded by an examination of inadequate analyses in terms of rules, claims, interests, entitlements, powers and duties. Also examined are the justification of rights and the kinds of beings that can have them. Finally the preferred analysis is discussed: 'X has a right to do or be or have R' means 'There is a justification for X's being free to do or be or have R'.