Rights, Wrongs and Responsibilities by Matthew H. Kramer (eds.)

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By Matthew H. Kramer (eds.)

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Even the most fervid champion of the rights of natural phenomena will not be inclined to contend that John's desk enjoys any legal rights against being smashed by vandals. Instead, a correct characterization will indicate that John himself counts as the right-holder and that his desk counts as the mere object of his right (a right against the destructive actions of other people). No colourable theory of legal rights can attribute to absolutely everything the status of a potential right-holder; distinctions have to be made, whereby some things or creatures are excluded from that status.

Kramer 29 attention (both from the theory's proponents and from its detractors). Other points are defensive, in that they parry objections to the Interest Theory or to the general analytical framework - an analytical framework deriving from the writings of the American jurist Wesley Hohfeld ('RWT', PP. 7-22) - which has informed my own version of that theory. Especially in the first main discussion below, the potential import of the Interest Theory for some present-day political debates will come to the fore.

Fundamental Legal Conceptions as Applied in Judicial Reasoning (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1923), p. 35. , p. 36. , p. 64. n. 2 above, p. 38. , p. 38. , pp. 35-64; Hohfeld's second article, 'Fundamental Legal Conceptions as Applied in Judicial Reasoning', in the same volume, deals specifically with judicial usage of the concepts of rights in rem and rights in personam. E. H. E. Simmonds and H. Steiner, A Debate Over Rights: Philosophical Enquiries (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), pp. 142-5.

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