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Moral Rights and Obligations

2019-05-10 来源: 51due教员组 类别: Paper范文

下面为大家整理一篇优秀的paper代写范文- Moral Rights and Obligations,供大家参考学习,这篇论文讨论了权利和义务。权利和义务常常被视为一对相互关联的概念。然而,权利和义务之间的关系并不象表面上那样容易确定。在道德权利和道德义务之间的关系方面更是如此。另外,权利和义务不仅在法律领域,而且在社会和道德领域都存在着很强的关联性。

Rights and Obligations,权利和义务,essay代写,paper代写,作业代写

Rights and obligations are often treated as a pair of interrelated concepts. However, the relevance between rights and obligations is not as easily ascertained as it appears. It is even more so when it comes to the relationship between moral rights and moral obligations. The relevance between rights and obligations is outlined by four separate statements by Ross. They include: First, A’s right to B means that B’s obligation for A; Second, B’s obligation to A implies that A has right to B; Third, A’s right to B implies that A has an obligation to B as well; Fourth, A has an obligation for B Means that A also has right to B (Ross, 1930). The first statement indicates that the right of A to ask B to do something is equal to B's obligation for A. Statement two is the opposite of statement one. Statement three indicates that A’s right to let B do something for him implies that A has an obligation to do another thing for B. the obligations of A and B for each other may be similar. For example, a person's right to truth means that he has the obligation to tell the truth as well. The obligations of A and B can also be of different kinds. For example, a person's right to seek obedience from another person implies that he has the obligation of ruling properly.

The above statements of the relevance between rights and obligations can also be expressed by other concepts, such as the "moral relevance" of rights and obligations. Moral relevance aims to show that a person's ownership of rights is based on his performance of the corresponding obligation as a decisive condition. Obligations is the cost of rights, which is similar to the meaning of statement three. The "logical relevance" of rights and obligations, on the other hand, is a different idea. It does not affirm that a person's possession of rights must be conditioned on his fulfillment of certain obligations. That is, the rights holder's own fulfillment of his obligations is not the logical basis for his rights. Instead, only when one’s rights are logically related to the obligations for others, should the fulfillment of the obligations for others as the decisive conditions. Similarly, a person’s obligations for others exist on the conditions that others have logically corresponding rights. The two points in this "logical relevance" of rights and obligations are the same as in statement one and two. Obviously, the relevance between rights and obligations is fully expressed through the above statements in theory. However, in practice, these statements are not easily and fully proved. The relevance between rights and obligations faces a number of problems. In this essay, problems associated with rights and moral obligations will be discussed from the moral perspective.

From a moral point of view, the major problem encountered with the relevance between rights and obligations is that if all obligations grant rights of others as expressed in the "logical relevance" claims, then moral values such as generosity, benevolence, and kindness become not only obligations, but also rights of people. However, it is questionable whether a generous and benevolent person or, any person, can justifiably claim to have the moral right to be treated generously and benevolently. As is often pointed out, where one person has rights over another, there is the other person's obligation to let him exercise the rights. Putting this statement in reverse order, it may not be true. This is because there is a moral obligation of benevolence that does not translate to corresponding rights. This issue has been the concern of some ethicists. For example, as argued by Frankena in Ethics, if X has a right to Y, then Y has an obligation for X. Although rights and obligations are related in general, X does not necessarily have the right to demand benevolence from Y (Frankena, 1973). Obviously, the moral obligation involved here cannot be compared with the debtor's obligation to pay debts to creditors or the action to keep promises. It is impossible for a moral obligation to be as definitive and indisputable as physical objects, like the obligation of debts and promises (Ross, 1930). Perhaps it is for this reason that diminishing the relevance between rights and obligations becomes an imaginable option, in which all rights correspond to certain obligations, but not all obligations derive into rights.

This leads to a question of how to treat and define obligations. Some obligations can give people rights for certain, and other obligations cannot do so, unable to be defined. The solution to this problem is often through the classification of obligations into full obligations and partial obligations. John Austin once referred to a type of categorization, which actually put the moral obligation completely into the category of partial obligation (Austin, 1832). The partial obligation is considered to be the order of God or moral obligations that distinguish from legal ones. Therefore, both religious obligations and moral obligations are partial obligations. Strictly speaking, obligations with no reliable or convincing sanctions provided by the rulers or the state are all considered partial obligations, as opposed to complete obligation. Although this categorization has raised some controversies, it has been relatively well-received among philosophers and law-makers. The distinction of different types of moral obligations is thus determined by whether there exist the corresponding rights.

A complete compulsory obligation is one that gives the rights to others, whereas a less compulsory one does not grant rights to others. An example of the former can be the obligation of justice, that is related to the enjoyment of rights by others. An example of the latter can be charity. Charity is people’s moral obligation, but it is an obligation to choose according to their own wishes. People can choose the time and content to fulfill this obligation. However, there is no such claim that one has to do so. Different from the ownership and rights people have over their own property, they do not have the right to demand benevolence from others (Frankena, 1973). It is certain that a conscientious person would feel the obligation to be a benevolent, but for the beneficiaries it is a kind of favor, not a right. Kindness can be considered as an obligation, but only an obligation which goes beyond responsibility. In other words, partial obligations exceed the requirement of absolute and complete obligations.

Therefore, in discussing the relevance between moral rights and moral obligations, the definition of duty becomes very important. The term "duty", is derived from Latin due, which has the meaning of indebtedness. It is linked to one's response to someone else’s actions. On the other hand, it also means that it is something that another person can claim from the obligor. In explaining the meaning of the term "obligation," it can be treated the same way as debt. The same is true for both: obligations can be demanded just like debts. This shows that, in the original meaning of obligation, relevance with rights has already been installed. However, the term obligation was later extended to have broader meanings than that. It expanded not only to actions of other individuals, but also those requirements from the law and higher authorities, and from the moral conscience of the person. After such an expansion, that the meaning of the word corresponding to the claims of rights has been diluted a great deal. It was painted with a strong ethical color. It can be seen in the process that the meaning of obligations changed from complete obligation to partial obligation. Schopenhauer considers the notion of obligation to be too broad to apply, that people are forgetting that obligation means debt essentially, and rights are only natural for obligations in the original sense (Schopenhauer, 1840). In his view, the concept of obligation should be confined, only to the elimination of any potential harm caused to other people. The obligation is thus the avoidance of these actions. Without such a refinement, the concept of obligation may be misused in the moral science as a commendable behavior, instead of a necessary one.

The extension of the concept of obligation does give rise to problems associated with the statements of Ross, and the interchangeability and flexibility of his theories. However, it appears that to narrow down the concept of obligation and cater the logical relevance between rights and obligations may not be a satisfactory solution to the problem. This would mean a complete disregard of the moral values, which is morally undesirable. Obligation does exist in both mandatory and non-mandatory settings. Such a distinction is not only reflected in the distinction between legal and moral obligations, but also within moral obligations themselves (Schopenhauer, 1840). The definition of “partial” and “complete” would have to change accordingly, based on the different settings. In the sense of moral obligation, the distinction between partial and complete obligations may not be so clearly defined. However, it is possible to apply the basis of whether or not certain obligations are in accordance with the corresponding rights claims, in the distinction of “complete” and “partial” in moral obligations. Morality should not be considered a single-layered existence. Instead, it consists of multiple dimensions with different emphases and demands.

For example, there is clearly a distinction between the "mandatory" degree of obligations and the obligation of doing good based on certain ethical principles. It embodies two different types of value requirements in the system of moral values. The obligation of justice is manifested in the form of a complete moral mandatory obligation. This means the existence of a correspondingly definite moral right, the observance of a moral agreement, and the fulfillment of commitments that are necessary to ensure that the moral order of the society remain stabilized. These moral obligations are often crucial for maintaining social order. With every member being able to enjoy the rights of the basic moral claims, it is also their responsibility not to violate the same rights of other individuals. In comparison, the obligation of doing good is manifested in the form of partial moral obligation. It does not correspond to a definite moral right (Ross, 1930). Obligations to be generous, benevolent and humanitarian are some example. Different from maintaining social order, these moral obligations serve to improve the quality of social moral life and promoting social harmony. They allow individuals to choose voluntarily, and the mandatory content is weakened a lot.

One thing should be clear when it comes to the relationship between partial obligation and moral right. People should not deny the need for moral obligations of charity, even if there is no requirement from the people needing help. The fact that a beggar does not have a moral right to ask for money does not mean that a person passing by has no moral obligation to do good. However, such actions of morality are often within the limit of individual abilities and not specific. This means that the decision of not helping the beggar should not be categorized as immoral, either, since people have the complete rights to decide on their own. It is a main feature of partial obligations to have a certain “degree of freedom”. In this case, a passer-by has the freedom to choose whether to help or not. When switching into another setting, as a passer-by becomes the only person available for the beggar to find help, the degree of freedom, or “room for negotiation” will decrease accordingly. This means that people would feel more obliged to act, as partial obligations shift towards more definitive obligations.

In conclusion, there exist a strong correlation between rights and obligations in multiple domains, not only legal, but also social and moral ones. In trying to distinguish rights from obligations, it is easy to fall into the confusion of the “chicken and egg” dilemma. By restoring rights and obligations to their original meanings, debts, the two of them are becoming an integrated set of concepts. However, such a mere reduction is not adequate in the modern context. The categorization of obligations thus becomes helpful, by grouping them into complete and partial obligations. The distinction between complete and partial also has two different layers. The first one is the separation of law from morality. This separation is fairly easy to comprehend. The second one is the separation of mandatory moral values from the voluntary moral values. Several parameters can be used as a judge, including the fundamental social order, and the freedom of interpretation based on specific settings.

References:

Ross, D. (1930). The Right and the Good.

Frankena, W. (1973). Ethics.

Austin, J. (1832). Province of Jurisprudence Determined.

Schopenhauer, A. (1840). The Two Fundamental Problems of Ethics.

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