Raz’s Benefit Theory

Class notes for 8 February

Main points

I introduced a limit to the choice theory as a way of explaining the appeal of benefit theories.

Then we went through the basic parts of Raz’s benefit theory.

We ended with Raz’s rather elegant way of dealing with three standard objections to benefit theories.

  1. Benefitting from duties without rights: the Ten Commandments example.
  2. Benefitting from duties without rights: third party beneficiaries.
  3. Redundancy: why not just talk about duties?

What’s next?

Krystyna already rang the bell on the theme for next time. It’s going to be: why are rights important, if Raz is correct? In other words, why not just dump rights and talk about interests?

I’m going to try to show that there’s something wrong with calling general rights rights. It will be a lot like Jay’s side of the dispute between Jay and Suzie.

And Suzie, it’s going to be excellent.