Beyond Choice and Interest: Reframing the Normativity of Rights Debate

Activity: External talk or presentationOral presentation


This paper seeks to contest the discourse around the normative nature of rights and argue that the debate between ‘choice’ and ‘interest’ theories of rights is an erroneous conception of what the issue at hand concerns. It is claimed that, through a conceptualisation of the framework of rights and the dialectical necessity of certain features of agency, what is needed for resolution of the debate at hand is an argument as to the function of rights. But, the debate is not completely resolved at that juncture. The larger issue, apparent in the dialogue between the ‘choice’ and ‘interest’ theories, is the framing of the question “what rights ought I to have?” This leads us to questions of about the regime which grants rights itself, rather than the normativity of rights. The resolution of this requires us to offer some sufficient and justificatory reason for those rights which we do not, but ought to, have; that is, we must find some morally rational reason for agents, tied to a system of institutionalised reasoning, to have a right to φ.
Period11 Nov 2020
Held atLaw, Society and Justice Research and Enterprise Group