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By Samuel Stoljar (auth.)

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Extra info for An Analysis of Rights

Sample text

The boundaries proposed confine the liberty to a predominantly defensive role, to be used as a right in situations where A's action proves detrimental to B but where A nevertheless has a defence, on the ground that he (A) may act in the way he does even if his actions adversely affect B, as where B suffers injury, whether in his person or his property or his standing in society. Not that A's justificatory defence is here seen as superior to B's complaint, or that B's harm is seen as inferior to A's, the position rather is that A's defence arises Rights as Defences and Liberties 23 because B can be said to have, directly or indirectly, exposed himself to the harm.

Admitting your duty to stop if the policeman can authenticate his right. Yet even if he does show a right, it is not strictly correlative to your duty, for it is not a right for his own benefit, but rather an authority given to him to maintain public order. Rights and Duties 41 The policeman, like our previous executioner, is acting on behalf of public principals. Indeed only agents, public or private, can be asked to authenticate such rights to act at all. These are rights, we begin to see, which arise in conjunction with an office; they are only rights enabling or entitling one to perform official or public tasks.

Nor does the immunity-disability terminology, borrowed from Hohfeld, do anything to disprove the right -duty correlativity, quite apart from the fact (as the following chapter will try to show) that this terminology itself is seriously at fault. For an immunity can be seen as but another way of saying that the speaker has a right not to be obstructed in his free speech, just as the legislature has a corresponding prohibition not to interfere. 9 Yet another argument, especially in connection with free speech, maintains that the fact that one is under a prohibition to intervene still does not imply that another necessarily has a right; for one may still be under a duty not to interfere with the other's activities whether the latter has a right to free speech or not.

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