Moral, instrumental, human rights: framework for pimm philosophy

In order to get new philosophical insights from the pimm thought experiment and to prepare well for the future, we have to set up a philosophical framework, so let us move to normative morality, and the concept of rights. Normative morality is referred here by Bernard Gert as a code of conduct that all rational persons would put forward for governing the behavior of all morkisjánosal agents. One example of normative morality is the Egalitarian theory of human rights by János Kis (see the picture), my main source in this respect was the book called Do We Have Human Rights?, that was published in English at Budapest, AB Independent Publishers 1985. The core of this theory is the principle of equal dignity: humans, as moral persons, as the subjects of moral rights and obligations, are equal. Rights and duties are complementary concepts, when there is a concrete right of somebody then there must be a concrete duty of some persons matching to this right. In the literature, positive and negative rights are discriminated. In the case of negative rights, there are complementary negative duties regarding everybody. For example, the right to life requires that it is our duty not to kill any person who has the right to live. Concerning positive rights there are complementary positive duties regarding some people, for example someone’s right to medical treatment requires complementary duties of doctors and nurses to treat the patient. The other basic distinction lies between instrumental vs moral rights. The difference between instrumental and moral-restrictive rights is based on the way of justification of the rights. In the case of instrumental rights the moral principle with which we would like to justify the right put on an aim, and the right is introduced as the powerful instrument to realise this aim, for example the right to property was justified this way by the utilitarians. Talking about moral-restrictive rights, first, we refer to a distinctive ethical quality of the subject of law, and, second, we mark the upper limit of the permissible instruments against the subject of the law, fix the minimal moral standard of admissible treatment. It is worth mentioning that the same right could be justified with moral-restrictive and instrumental premises, too. Human rights are moral rights, and the distinctive ethical quality which deserves respect is related to the fact, that the subject of law is a human being. Human rights are changing, they depend on time and place, and their range is gradually broadening.

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