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Appears in Collections:Law and Philosophy Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: On Rights, Human Rights, and Property: A Response
Author(s): Cruft, Rowan
Keywords: Philosophy
Issue Date: May-2022
Date Deposited: 8-Oct-2021
Citation: Cruft R (2022) On Rights, Human Rights, and Property: A Response. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 39 (2), pp. 220-232.
Abstract: This article responds to papers by Joseph Bowen, Simon May, Zofia Stemplowska, and Nick Sage, focused on my monograph, Human Rights, Ownership, and the Individual (OUP, 2019). The book develops a new account of the nature of rights: as duties governed by ‘addressive’ norms of first- and second-personal thinking. This account has implications for both human rights and property rights. It implies that human rights in law should be founded on pre-legal moral rights grounded in how they serve the individual right-holder. And it implies that much property, which is morally grounded only as a system serving collective goods, would be beneficially reconceived in non-rights terms. The article defends the ‘addressive’ account of rights against Bowen’s and May’s arguments for the rival ‘Interest Theory’, and against May’s circularity charge. In response to Stemplowska (who builds on O’Neill), the article defends the place for pre-legal moral rights to goods and services as foundations for socioeconomic human rights. In response to Sage, the article defends the view that while human rights are morally grounded for the right-holder’s sake, most property rights constituting individual wealth in modern markets are not – and this throws doubt on such property’s status as a right.
DOI Link: 10.1111/japp.12507
Rights: © 2021 The Authors. Journal of Applied Philosophy published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society for Applied Philosophy. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License (, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
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