A System of Rights
The justification of political authority is one of the long-standing issues of political philosophy, and one which persistently defies satisfactory solution. This book sets out to provide an original justification by establishing a background framework for dealing with the problem. Rex Martin begins by identifying the main elements of authority, arguing that they need to be linked in order to create a political authority that can be described as justified. He then sketches a framework - a sample system of political institutions and conceptions which is internally coherent - to link these elements. The rest of the book fills in this outline. Professor Martin argues that rights are established patterns of acting or of being treated and are hence essentially institutional in character. The institutions that tend to be the most supportive, and productive, of individual rights are, he believes, democratic, and the central section of the book is devoted to the connection of rights with majority rule democratic political institutions and conceptions. From this nexus secondary lines of connection are traced to political obligation (or allegiance) and to an eligible justification for using punishment to enforce the rights of individuals. Thus Professor Martin's analysis forms a distinctive and systematic approach to one particular state of government. This rethinking of some of the main topics of political theory is long overdue; it yields some striking conclusions about both the nature of rights and the nature of political authority itself.
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1 On the Logic of Justifying Political Authority
2 The Concept of Rights
3 Rights as Valid Claims
4 Human Rights
5 Civil Rights
6 Democratic Institutions
7 Democracy and Rights
8 Allegiance and the Place of Civil Disobedience
The Problem of Punishment
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