In Roger Teichmann (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Elizabeth Anscombe (forthcoming)

Katharina Nieswandt
Concordia University
Following Elizabeth Anscombe, rights exist within practices. A right consists in a bundle of possible and impossible moves within the relevant social 'game', e.g. the practice of private property. What becomes of basic rights on such a social-constructivist conception? Metaphysically, basic rights do not differ from other rights. The right not to be murdered, however, enjoys a transcendental status within Anscombe's moral philosophy, and this construction might extend to other basic rights: Since practical reasoning is directed at the good life, there can be no sound practical inference concluding in murder. Anscombe's argument for this presupposes a particular conception of human dignity, which is quite similar to the dominant conception in contemporary human rights literature.
Keywords right  practice  modality  transcendental  human rights  dignitity  murder  consequentialism  social constructivism  G.E.M. Anscombe
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