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Rights, Systems of Rights, and Unger's System of Rights: Part 1

Horst Eidenmüller
Law and Philosophy
Vol. 10, No. 1 (Feb., 1991), pp. 1-28
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3504833
Page Count: 28
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Rights, Systems of Rights, and Unger's System of Rights: Part 1
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Abstract

Critical legal scholarship has so far been concerned primarily with trashing or deconstructing the belief clusters of "liberalism". Negative posturing of this kind is not the only feature of the movement, though. Roberto Unger has dreamt up a sociopolitical vision that presents an "empowered democracy". An important element of his "empowered democracy" is a new system of rights. Part 1 of my essay contains an analysis of the notion of a subjective right. I argue that both Hohfeld's fundamental legal conceptions and Unger's various rights can be described by a simple deontic relation that I define as RIGHT. I then discuss a set of normative criteria that can help us evaluate systems of rights. Part 2 [to appear in the following issue -- ed.] contains a detailed critique of Unger's system of rights based on these normative criteria. The tenet of this part is that Unger's system of rights is contradictory, opaque, impracticable, costly, and not fully backed by what Unger offers as a background justification for it.

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