Volume 11, 1985
Louis G. Lombardi
The Nature of Rights
The paper seeks to explain rights by first uncovering their specific place in the moral realm. Accounts of rights as claims or entitlements are criticized for attempting to explain the moral concept of rights in terms that are primarily non-moral. Rights are then described as a form of
prescriptive presumption, that is, as requirements on deliberations that yield justifiable expectations of certain types of treatment. Similarities and differences between rights and moral rules or principles are examined to uncover the specific role of rights in moral analysis.