Loren Lomasky Essay Question: What Is Meant By Liberty Rights And What Is Lomasky's Argument For The Priority Of These Rights Over Any Other Kind Of Other Rights?

2067 words - 8 pages

The notion of human rights is an important ideal in a society that places value on the Kantian ideals of freedom, liberty and equality. According to Hinman, rights are the "central concept upon which...political organizations are built." Rights set limitations as to what extent others can encroach onto other individuals or groups. Human rights are the cornerstones on which society operates socially, aiming to provide protection, choice and security. Customarily, rights are used as a justification of the principles and rules that are accepted, and employed commonly amongst rational people. In discussing rights - particularly liberty and welfare rights I intend to argue that there is a strong distinction between the two, whilst exploring the idea of 'positive' and 'negative' rights. The strengths of each will be focused on through the theories of Loren Lomasky, Lawrence M. Hinman, John Locke and Immanuel Kant. Nonetheless, I lean toward agreeing with Lomasky's argument for the priority of the right of liberty over any other kind of right. However, I will argue that the right to non-interference is a unique exception to this argument.Basic human rights, as defined by Hinman, "express the minimum entitlements that are built into the social contract." The idea of a basic right is that they are the minimal reasonable demands on humanity, and it is only basic if the ability to exercise other rights is reliant on the utilization of that particular right. Basic rights are the foundations of all other rights, however, it is a contentious issue, as to what a set of basic rights constitutes. Equally contentious is what rights take priority and what duties we have in upholding or perhaps not interfering with these rights. A number of philosophers have attempted to clarify the concepts involved in liberty and welfare rights. However, the arguments made by Loren Lomasky are significant, and I will use his insights to support my thesis.Fundamentally, it is essential to differentiate between the concepts of 'positive' and 'negative' rights and their relativity to the consistence of basic rights consist. If the nature of a right is 'negative,' this means that the right requires no action, other than the non-interference of others, in order for an individual to benefit from that right. An example of this is the right to liberty, or right to life. Locke states that these rights are, "the foundation of that obligation to mutual love amongst men on which he builds the duties they owe one another...though this is a state of liberty, yet it is not a state of licence."Conversely, to say that a right is 'positive,' indicates that an action or duty is required from others, in order for that individual to have that right. This idea is inclusive of welfare rights, such as the right to health care. Hinman states, "positive rights entail positive obligations on the part of the rights-observer to do something to assist in the rights-holder's exercise of a right." However,...

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