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The Community of Rights

Alan Gewirth extends his fundamental principle of equal and universal human rights, the Principle of Generic Consistency, into the arena of social and political philosophy, exploring its implications for both social and economic rights. He argues that the ethical requirements logically imposed on individual action hold equally for the supportive state as a community of rights, whose chief function is to maintain and promote the universal human rights to freedom and well-being. Such social afflictions as unemployment, homelessness, and poverty are basic violations of these rights, which the supportive state is required to overcome. A critical alternative to both "liberal" and "communitarian" views, this book will command the attention of anyone engaged in the debate over social and economic justice.

396 pages | 6 x 9 | © 1996

Economics and Business: Economics--General Theory and Principles

Philosophy: Ethics, Philosophy of Society

Political Science: Political and Social Theory

Table of Contents

Ch. 1: Action and Human Rights
1.1: The Opposition between Rights and Community
1.2: The Initial Conciliation of Rights and Community
1.3: Are There Any Moral or Human Rights?
1.4: Human Action as the Basis of Human Rights
1.5: The Argument for Human Rights
1.6: Some Objections to the Argument
1.7: Comparisons to Some Other Doctrines
Ch. 2: Positive Rights
2.1: The Importance of Positive Rights
2.2: The Distinction between Negative and Positive Rights
2.3: The Argument for Positive Rights
2.4: Objections to Positive Rights: Freedom and Degrees of Needfulness for Action
2.5: Objections to Positive Rights: Overload of Duties
2.6: Objections to Positive Rights: Universality
Ch. 3: Mutuality and Community
3.1: Justice and Equality
3.2: Mutuality and Reciprocity
3.3: Rights, Charity, and Humanity
3.4: The Idea of Community and the Social Contribution Thesis
3.5: Further Replies to the Adversarial Conception
3.6: Community and Conceptions of the Self
3.7: Ethical Individualism, Socialism, and the Economic Constitution
3.8: The Problems of Rights Inflation and Specification
Ch. 4: The Right to Productive Agency
4.1: The Right to Welfare and the Deprivation Focus
4.2: The Welfare System and Autonomy
4.3: Welfare Dependence, Autonomy, and Mutuality
4.4: Organicist Relations and Welfare Recipience
4.5: Workfare and Its Problems
4.6: Productive Agency and Productivist Welfarism
4.7: Human Capital as a Form of Productive Agency
4.8: Productive and Unproductive Labor
4.9: Education for Productive Agency
4.10: Early Education and Equality of Self-Actualization
4.11: The Nonneutrality of the Community of Rights
Ch. 5: The Right to Private Property
5.1: Productive Agency and Two Justifications of Property Rights
5.2: Consequentialist Justification of Property Rights
5.3: Antecedentalist Justification of Property Rights
5.4: Primordialist Objections to the Purposive-Labor Thesis: Self-Ownership
5.5: Primordialist Objections to the Purposive-Labor Thesis: World Ownership
5.6: Relations between the Two Justifications
5.7: The Contribution Principle and Economic Inequality
Ch. 6: The Right to Employment
6.1: The Argument from Productive Agency and Basic Well-Being
6.2: The Argument from Self-Respect and Self-Esteem
6.3: Is There No Need for Work?
6.4: Is There a Duty to Work? When Do Right-Holders Have Corresponding Duties?
6.5: Is All Unemployment Voluntary?
6.6: Full Employment and Inflation
6.7: Wage Costs of Full Employment
6.8: Full Employment and Shirking
6.9: Employment at Will and Property Rights in Jobs
Ch. 7: The Right to Economic Democracy
7.1: Economic Democracy as Workers’ Control
7.2: Economic Democracy and the Right to Freedom
7.3: Analogies between Economic and Political Democracy
7.4: Economic Democracy and the Right To Well-Being
7.5: Disanalogies between Economic and Political Democracy
7.6: The Universalization of Economic Democracy
7.7: Competition and Solidarity
7.8: Economic Democracy and Social Democracy
Ch. 8: The Right to Political Democracy
8.1: Political Democracy as the Method of Consent
8.2: Should Economic Rights Be Subject to Political Democracy?
8.3: Should Basic Rights and Political Rights Be Subject to Political Democracy?
8.4: Will Economic Rights Be Supported by Political Democracy?
8.5: Civil Liberties as Effective Powers
8.6: Civil Liberties as Positive Rights
8.7: Some Concluding Reflections

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