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Global Basic Rights$
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Charles R. Beitz and Robert E. Goodin

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199604388

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199604388.001.0001

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Shue on Rights and Duties*

Shue on Rights and Duties*

(p.113) 6 Shue on Rights and Duties*
Global Basic Rights

Thomas Pogge

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses the stages of Shue’s argument in Basic Rights, which starts from the premise that human beings have moral rights, specifically claim rights in Hohfeld’s sense. This premise leaves open the content of our moral rights as well as their importance relative to one another and relative to other reasons for action. Noting considerable disagreement about these matters, Shue proposed a criterion for identifying the content, or (as he calls it) substance, of our most weighty, most important rights. Employing this criterion, he argues that four clusters of rights — security rights, subsistence rights, liberty rights, and political participation rights — satisfy this criterion. Shue concludes that these four rights clusters ‘are everyone’s minimum reasonable demands upon the rest of humanity’. Because all four clusters of rights impose both negative and positive duties, the common libertarian dismissal of subsistence rights fails.

Keywords:   Henry Shue, Basic Rights, moral rights, security rights, subsistence rights, liberty rights, political participation rights

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