Rights and Virtues

Analyse & Kritik 6 (1):28-48 (1984)
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Abstract

It is first shown that, contrary to Maclntyre, human rights are not ‘fictions’. I then summarize my own argument for human rights, and reply to Maclntyre’s objections. Turning to his own positive doctrine, I indicate that it is confronted with ‘the problem of moral indeterminacy’, in that it allows or provides for outcomes which are mutually opposed to one another so far as concerns their moral status. I then take up Maclntyre’s triadic account of the virtues and show that each phase - practice, narrative order of a single life, and moral tradition - is morally indeterminate, as are also his accounts of the morality of law and the virtue of justice. My conclusion is that moral virtues must be based on human rights if the virtues are to have morally justified contents.

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