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Defending the Right to Do Wrong

23 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2012  

Ori J. Herstein

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Law; King's College London - Dickson Poon School of Law

Date Written: December 19, 2011

Abstract

Are there moral rights to do moral wrong? A right to do wrong is a right that others not interfere with the right-holder’s wrongdoing. It is a right against enforcement of duty, that is a right that others not interfere with one’s violation of one’s own obligations. The strongest reason for moral rights to do moral wrong is grounded in the value of personal autonomy. Having a measure of protected choice (that is a right) to do wrong is a condition for an autonomous life and for autonomous moral self-constitution. This view has its critics. Responding to these objections reveals that none refute the coherence of the concept of a ‘moral right to do moral wrong.’ At most, some objections successfully challenge the weight and frequency of the personal autonomy reasons for such rights. Autonomy-based moral rights to do moral wrong are therefore conceptually possible as well as, at least on occasion, actual.

Keywords: rights, right theory, right to do wrong, morality, ethics, moral philosophy, jurisprudence, integrity, autonomy, moral rights

Suggested Citation

Herstein, Ori J., Defending the Right to Do Wrong (December 19, 2011). Law and Philosophy, 2012; Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1978893

Ori J. Herstein (Contact Author)

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Law ( email )

Mt. Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel

HOME PAGE: http://law.huji.ac.il/eng/segel.asp?staff_id=190&cat=441

King's College London - Dickson Poon School of Law ( email )

Somerset House East Wing
Strand
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/law/people/visiting/oherstein.aspx

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