CLP Rights and Demands

Saturday, February 9 at 9:30am to 2:30pm

UCI School of Humanities, Humanities Commons

What are rights? How do they relate to duties, powers, and interests that ought to be protected? What normative work is done by calling something a right? Could morality or law provide the basis of genuine rights, and if not, what does?

These and related questions – vigorously debated by moral philosophers and legal theorists for decades – are taken up in a much-anticipated book by UCI Distinguished Professor Margaret Gilbert, Rights and Demands: A Foundational Inquiry (OUP 2018). Professor Gilbert advances her own account of what she calls "demand-rights," arguably the central case of rights, an account that she grounds in the social phenomenon of joint commitment. The view serves not only as a novel alternative to leading theories of rights, but as a challenge to widely held views about the scope of morality, the nature of obligation and the existence of a whole class of phenomena that go by the name “rights.”

At the conference, prominent theorists of ethics and jurisprudence engage with this provocative account and its wide-ranging implications, addressing some fundamental questions for ethics and rights theory going forward.

Featured Speakers Include:

Richard Arneson
Distinguished Professor and Valtz Family Chair in Philosophy
University of California, San Diego

Allen Buchanan
Research Professor
University of Arizona

Stephen Darwall
Andrew Downey Orrick Professor of Philosophy
Yale University

Frances Kamm
Distinguished Professor
Henry Rutgers University Professor of Philosophy

Gregory Keating
William T. Dalessi Professor of Law and Philosophy
USC Gould School of Law

Gary Watson
Provost Professor of Philosophy and Law
USC Gould School of Law

Event Type



Students, Alumni, General Public, Faculty, Staff




Centers, Center for Legal Philosophy
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