Inalienable rights: A litmus test for liberal theories of justice

Law and Philosophy 29 (5):571-599 (2010)
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Abstract

Liberal-contractarian philosophies of justice see the unjust systems of slavery and autocracy in the past as being based on coercion—whereas the social order in modern democratic market societies is based on consent and contract. However, the ‘best’ case for slavery and autocracy in the past were consent-based contractarian arguments. Hence, our first task is to recover those ‘forgotten’ apologia for slavery and autocracy. To counter those consent-based arguments, the historical anti-slavery and democratic movements developed a theory of inalienable rights. Our second task is to recover that theory and to consider several other applications of the theory. Finally, the liberal theories of justice expounded by John Rawls and by Robert Nozick are briefly examined from this perspective.

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Author's Profile

David Ellerman
University of Ljubljana

Citations of this work

On Property Theory.David Ellerman - 2014 - Journal of Economic Issues (3):601–624.
Does Classical Liberalism Imply Democracy?David Ellerman - 2015 - Ethics and Global Politics 8 (1):29310.
Privacy, Interests, and Inalienable Rights.Adam D. Moore - 2018 - Moral Philosophy and Politics 5 (2):327-355.

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References found in this work

Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - New York: Basic Books.
Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1993 - Columbia University Press.
Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.
The Sexual Contract.Carole Pateman - 1988 - Polity Press.

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