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Group Rights and Group Agency

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Chapter Summary

This chapter aims to show that the Choice theory can accommodate group rights. The author outlines the Choice theory of rights and argues that the conceptual criteria for ascriptions of rights may be less demanding than it is usually thought; Choice theory right-holders need not be full-blown or autonomous agents but have a capacity for choice and action, i.e. limited agency. He shows that a group's lack of ontological status does not preclude it from being seen as an agent, albeit only in this limited sense. He argues that groups organized around a collective decision-making procedure can act and make genuinely collective choices so that they are possible moral right-holders. If this argument is correct, it can also serve to extend the class of Choice theory right-holders to include other creatures that lack a high degree of agency, most notably children.

Keywords: Choice theory; group rights; limited agency; moral right-holders



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