BASS Social Anthropology and Data Analytics

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Theories of Rights

Course unit fact file
Unit code POLI32121
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

PLEASE NOTE THAT SOME OF THE COURSE CONTENT MAY CHANGE AS THIS MODULE WILL BE TAUGHT BY A NEW MEMBER OF STAFF

The kind of topics covered:
1. The analysis of rights (Hohfeld, interest theory, choice theory).
2. Subjects of rights (animals, children, future generations).
3. Human rights, welfare rights.
4. Rights versus utility - rights as trumps.
5. Self-ownership and property rights.
6. Rights and autonomy.
7. Scepticism about rights.
8. Group rights.

Aims

The aim of this course is to examine and evaluate recent theoretical approaches to understanding the notion of rights. The kind of questions that are asked and answered are: What is a right? Which theory of rights best justifies their existence and scope? Do children or animals have rights? How do rights relate to other elements of a moral or political theory, such as duties and goals? Are there good reasons to abandon rights discourse altogether? How extensive are rights and do they act as trumps in political discourse?

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, you should be able to use the tools of analytical philosophy yourself to formulate and evaluate defences and criticisms of key positions in the contemporary debates about rights. You should also be able to describe those positions in a clear and coherent way and to connect them to positions in non-philosophical political debate.

Assessment methods

Essay 1 (40%) = 2400 words

Essay 2 (50%) = 3000 words

Participation (10%)

Feedback methods

Students will receive written feedback on all assessed coursework and get face to face feedback in tutorials/seminars. Tutors and Course Convenors also have a dedicated office hour when you can meet with her/him to discuss course unit specific problems and questions.

Recommended reading

Peter Jones, Rights (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 1994)
Jeremy Waldron, Theories of Rights (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984).

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Stephen Hood Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Information
This course is available to all students but especially recommended for those students who enjoyed POLI20881: Freedom and Equality.

Length of course: 12 weeks

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