Date: 27 October 2021
Research seminar with Adina Preda, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Trinity College Dublin.
This paper aims to establish that there can be human rights to socio-economic goods or services, such as rights to food, shelter, and medical care by responding to the so-called ‘claimability objection’ put forward by Onora O’Neill. According to the objection, such positive rights cannot be general or ‘natural’ because they cannot be claimed since it would unclear who bears the correlative duty. I first argue that a convincing version of this objection is not really about claimability but rather about correlativity; the worry is that positive rights cannot have correlative duties assignable to everyone in the world. I then clarify the notion of correlativity and raise doubts about this claim. The paper concludes that there is no conceptual reason why positive rights cannot be general although they would probably look different from the socio-economic rights currently enshrined in international legal documents; the paper does not, however, argue that there are such moral rights.
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