Right and Wrong

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Editorial Reviews

Boston Globe
Charles Fried of the Harvard Law School has made an important contribution to the literature of ethics . 'On all great subjects much remains to be said,' wrote John Stuart Mill. Professor Fried has said it with great elegance.
The New Leader
Fried's approach is indeed an important corrective to utilitarian calculations that are often all too ready to sacrifice individuals... on the altar of the greatest good... [This is] a well-written and provocative volume, containing discussions of many important issues.
Philosophical Books
The most outstanding feature of this book is the lucid account it presents of the workings of ordinary morality with regard to what the individual and the state may, may not, and must do.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674769052
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1978
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.24 (w) x 9.58 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Fried is Beneficial Professor of Law, Harvard University.
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Table of Contents



1. Elements

Right and Wrong

Right and Wrong as Absolute

The Complexity of Deontological Systems

Causation and Negative Duties

Intention: The Person as Agent and Object

Respect for Persons

2. Harm

Directness and Particularity

From Directness to Intention

Completing the Structure: Defense

3. On Lying

Lying Defined

The Evil of Lying

Justified Lies


4. Rights-The Economic Analysis


The Economic Analysis of Rights

Bargaining and Moral Foundations


A Note on Compensation

5. Positive Rights

Positive and Negative Rights

The Sources of Positive Rights

Needs and Wants

The System of Positive Rights

The Duty of Beneficence

Conclusion and Prospects

6. Negative Rights

Negative Rights and Fair Shares

Negative Rights and Fair Contributions

Family Rights: A Complex Case

Unintended Invasions: A Complication

Conclusion: The System of Positive and Negative Rights


7. Rights and Roles

Virtue and Roles

Professional Roles: The Problem

The Analogy to Friendship

Bureaucrats and Friends

Doing Harm in a Justifiable Role




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