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On the Non-Instrumental Value of Basic Rights

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Chapter Summary

This chapter depicts basic rights as both non-instrumentally and instrumentally valuable, their non-instrumental value inhering in their role as binding each person to each other person in a network of directed normative relationships that, together with other normative requirements and unavoidable fellow-feelings, constitutes the proto-community or proto-fellowship of humankind, their instrumental value inhering in their role as protectors of particular important interests or needs of their holders. The author focuses primarily on explaining basic rights' non-instrumental value. He develops the proposal that the non-instrumental value of basic rights derives from their constitutive role in a universal form of community or fellowship. The non-instrumental value of the proto-community of humankind generates strong reasons for the existence of some universal network of basic rights, further reasons grounded in basic rights' instrumental value determines what the precise content of these rights should be.

Keywords: basic rights; instrumental value; non-instrumental value; proto-community



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