The Logic and Antilogic of Secret Rights

24 Pages Posted: 11 May 2015

See all articles by David H. Kaye

David H. Kaye

PSU - Penn State Law (University Park); ASU - College of Law & School of Life Sciences

Date Written: November 1987


In an article entitled "Secret Rights," Girardeau Spann argued that theories of rights are logically incoherent and proposed a "story-telling," intuitionist approach to adjudicating claims of rights. This essay shows that one can easily avoid the problems identified by Spann without abandoning logic. It analyzes Spann's critique of deductive logic as a component of theories about rights and argues that logic has its uses. Finally, it discusses Spann's proposed nonlogical paradigm for handling rights and concludes that while there is far more to political and legal argument than deductive logic, logic should continue to play at least a supporting role in theories about rights.

Keywords: jurisprudence, critical legal studies, rights, logic, self-reference

Suggested Citation

Kaye, David H., The Logic and Antilogic of Secret Rights (November 1987). Minnesota Law Review, Vol. 72, No. 3, 1988, Available at SSRN:

David H. Kaye (Contact Author)

PSU - Penn State Law (University Park)

Lewis Katz Building
University Park, PA 16802
United States


ASU - College of Law & School of Life Sciences ( email )

111 E Taylor St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
United States


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