An Approach to Rights contains fifteen previously published but mostly inaccessible papers that together show the development of one of the more important contemporary theories of the nature, grounds and practical implications of rights. In a long retrospective essay, Carl Wellman explains what he was trying to accomplish in each paper, how far he believes that he succeeded and where he failed. Thus the author provides a critical perspective both on his own theory and on alternative theories from which he borrows, or that he rejects. These essays identify the problems any adequate theory of rights must solve, describe the more plausible solutions and weigh the merits of each. They will be of special interest to any reader concerned with legal theory, moral philosophy or any branch of applied ethics or social policy in which appeals to rights are frequently made but seldom rationally satisfactory.
Table of Contents1. Seeking a Theory of Rights. 2. Upholding Legal Rights. 3. Legal Rights. 4. A New Conception of Human Rights. 5. Consent to Medical Research on Children. 6. Taking Economic Rights Seriously. 7. Moral Rights and Positive Law. 8. The Growth of Children's Rights. 9. Terrorism and Moral Rights. 10. Judicial Discretion and Constitutional Law. 11. The Right to Privacy and Personal Autonomy. 12. Social Justice and Human Rights. 13. Violence, Law, and Basic Rights. 14. Politics and Constitutional Rights. 15. Interpreting the Bill of Rights. 16. The Inalienable Right to Life. Bibliography. Index of Names. Index of Subjects.