In my previous postings I have commented on the course given at Yale University by Ian Shapiro, and on the course given at Harvard University by Michael Sandel. In both courses there is use made of the language of “rights.” And there is mention in both courses the appeal to rights in John Locke and in the American Declaration of Independence. But there is no attempt at giving an independent analysis of what this kind of language means. This raises the question of why the evasion or omission? Especially when the professors could have made use of the following book which addresses this issue in a scholarly and comprehensive manner. The book is: David G. Ritchie, Natural Rights: A Criticism of Some Political and Ethical Conceptions (1903)
Below is the table of contents, which indicates the scope of the coverage.
PART I. — THE THEORY OF NATURAL RIGHTS.
- I. THE PRINCIPLES OF ’89
- II. ON THE HISTORY OF THE IDEA OF “NATURE” IN LAW AND POLITICS
- III. ROUSSEAU AND ROUSSEAUISM
- IV. DE DIVISIONE NATURAE
- V. WHAT DETERMINES RIGHTS?
PART II. — PARTICULAR NATURAL RIGHTS.
- VI. THE RIGHT OF LIFE
- VII. THE RIGHT OF LIBERTY: LIBERTY OF THOUGHT
- VIII. TOLERATION
- NOTE A. — Religious Persecution and Toleration: Some Historical Illustrations
- NOTE B. — Measures for Suppressing Mormonism in the United States
- IX. THE RIGHTS OF PUBLIC MEETING AND ASSOCIATION
- X. FREEDOM OF CONTRACT, NATIONAL FREEDOM, ETC.
- XI. RESISTANCE TO OPPRESSION
- XII. EQUALITY
- XIII. THE RIGHT OF PROPERTY
- XIV. THE RIGHT OF PURSUING AND OBTAINING HAPPINESS
- THE VIRGINIAN DECLARATION OF RIGHTS June 12, 1776
- EXTRACT FROM THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE July 4, 1776
- FRENCH DECLARATION OF RIGHTS OF 1789 (Constitution of 1791), WITH PAINE’S TRANSLATION
- FRENCH DECLARATION OF RIGHTS OF 1793
- FRENCH DECLARATION OF RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF 1795
- PREAMBLE TO FRENCH CONSTITUTION OF 1848