Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Etymologically connected to the right , which is concerned with correct action, the plural concept of rights developed in the modern period, primarily as the assertion of the individual's right to private property. But the connection between rights (plural) and right (singular) is not simply etymological but also conceptual, for a particular right must necessarily be located in a wider scheme of rights. The focus of this entry is on the concept of rights rather on justifying particular schemes of rights. After analyzing different kinds of rights—claims, privileges, powers, and immunities—the conceptual unity of those four forms is discussed. Two theories of what holds rights together dominate the conceptual debate: will theory and interest theory. In will theory, to have a right is to be in a position to change your legal position vis-à-vis other rights holders, while benefit theorists hold that having a right involves benefiting from other In ...