Theories of Rights

21 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2003

See all articles by Alon Harel

Alon Harel

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law

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The paper is an attempt to present and investigate critically the nature of rights and their role in moral theory. The discussion is divided into two sections: section I discusses the nature of rights and section II investigates the role of rights within moral theory and their relations with other components of moral theory. Section I explores the nature of rights from three different perspectives: their formal or logical structure, their substance, and their special strength and importance in practical reasoning. Section II explores the role of rights in moral theory. The first sub-section asks whether the value of rights is derivative or foundational. The second sub-section investigates the accusation that the discourse of rights promotes a sectarian normative agenda, which is overly individualistic, masculine and Western.

Keywords: Rights, legal theory, moral theory

Suggested Citation

Harel, Alon, Theories of Rights. Available at SSRN: or

Alon Harel (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law ( email )

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