Chapter

Towards a Thin Theory of the Good

David Bilchitz

in Poverty and Fundamental Rights

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199552160
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191709456 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199552160.003.0002
 Towards a Thin Theory of the Good

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In developing a theory of rights, it is necessary to understand the principled basis upon which we can make judgments about what is of importance in the lives of sentient beings. The question of how we can make judgments of priority within the class of what is of importance to such beings is also addressed. This chapter considers the theories of Nussbaum, Rawls, and Gewirth, and argues that there are two main sources of value in the lives of sentient beings: experiences and purposes. There are some general capabilities and resources which are necessary prerequisites for individuals to be able to realise their own experiences and purposes. Individuals can be said to have fundamental interests in these capabilities and resources. It is argued that there are two thresholds for these interests.

Keywords: sentient beings; experiences; purposes; fundamental interests; capabilities; resources; thresholds; Nussbaum; Rawls; Gewirth

Chapter.  22058 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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