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Cover Understanding Jurisprudence

10. Rights  

One of the most important and controversial concepts that preoccupies legal and moral philosophers is that of a ‘right’. To have a right raises the distinction between what a right is, on the one hand, and what rights people actually have or should have, on the other. This is the difference between a moral and a legal right that is a recurring theme in discussions of this subject. This chapter examines the concept of rights, various theories and types of rights (including human and animal rights), and concludes with a brief exercise in ‘applied jurisprudence’ that attempts to show how apparently competing approaches to a crucial democratic right may be resolved.