Topics to Contemporary Political Theory: The Theory of Rights

Level: 
Semester: 
Instructor(s): 
Units: 
4
Section: 
1
Number: 
215B
CCN: 
33333
Times: 
M 11-2
Location: 
749 Barrows
Course Description: 

This course covers the theory of rights in recent scholarship in political theory and general jurisprudence.  The course is divided into two main parts.  The first, surveying recent scholarship by commentators such as Brett, Tierney, Tuck, and Villey, offers a brief history of rights in the West and explores the major textual sources of a modern Rechtswissenschaft or ‘legal science of right’ in Classical Antiquity (especially the Roman law of obligations) and selected medieval and early modern sources such as Ockham, Grotius, Hobbes, Locke, and Kant.  The course will also study foundational modern texts of rights theory such as Bentham, Austin, Marx, and Hohfeld.  The second part of the course proceeds to consider the major conceptual, normative, and interpretive problems on the status of rights in contemporary general jurisprudence and political theory:  Major problems for study in seminar will include the correlativity of rights and duties; the ‘Will Theory’ vs. ‘Interest Theory’ debate; the status of collective or group rights; the status of human rights; the function of rights in liberal political theory and constitutional democracy; the role of the state in designing a rights regime.  Principal readings will likely include texts by Dworkin, Feinberg, Finnis, Gewirth, Green, Hart, Kelsen, Moyn, Nozick, Raz, Waldron, Wellman, and Wenar.

Group visibility: 
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