Rights: Their Logic Restated

John Finnis

in Philosophy of Law

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199580088
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729409 | DOI:
Rights: Their Logic Restated

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This chapter offers some fundamental clarifications of the logic of Hohfeld's analysis of rights. Its results are presupposed and partly summarized in Natural Law and Natural Rights. Axioms for a right understanding are: each Hohfeldian jural relation concerns only one activity of one person; a claim-right can never be to do or omit something, but is always a claim that somebody else does or omits something; the relevance of legal remedies to the defining terms of the schema is left undetermined by Hohfeld. Neglect of these axioms is shown to be widespread in jurisprudence. The chapter concludes with critical discussion of Dworkin on ‘the right to break the law’ and the Second Vatican Council on ‘abuse of rights’ and the limits to religious liberty.

Keywords: Hohfeld; jural relations; claim-rights; remedies; Dworkin; right to break the law

Chapter.  6913 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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