Moral Rights and Their Grounds offers a novel theory of rights based on two distinct views. The first—the value view of rights—argues that for a person to have a right is to be valuable in a certain way, or to have a value property. This special type of value is in turn identified by the reasons that others have for treating the right holder in certain ways, and that correlate with the value in question. David Alm then argues that the familiar agency view of rights should be replaced with a different version according to which persons’ rights, and thus at least in part their value, are based on their actions rather than their mere agency. This view, which Alm calls exercise-based rights, retains some of the most valuable features of the agency view while also defending it against common objections concerning right loss. This book presents a unique conception of exercise-based rights that will be of keen interest to ethicists, legal philosophers, and political philosophers interested in rights theory.
"David Alm’s value theory provides a fascinating and important competitor to will and benefit theories. It attempts to solve the central problems that plague these competitor theories and does so in a way that that connects rights to autonomy, reasons, and morality in general. Rights theorists will greatly enjoy discussing Alm’s innovative approach."– Stephen Kershnar, SUNY-Fredonia, USA
Introduction Part I: The Value View 1. The Value View: The Basics 2. The Components of a Claim 3. In Defense of the Value View Part II: The Agency View 4. The Agency View: The Basics 5. The Components of Owing: Exclusionary Reasons and Relationality 6. How Agency Generates Rights 7. The Strength of Rights 8. The Moral Significance of Rights 9. The Agency View and Right Loss Part III: Exercise-Based Rights 10. Rejecting the Agency View: The Options 11. Exercise-Based Rights: The Very Idea 12. Exercise-Based Rights: Why Accept Them?