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Moral Equality and Rights: A Specificationist Account of Rights in Conflict

Smith, RH; (2015) Moral Equality and Rights: A Specificationist Account of Rights in Conflict. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This thesis explores the philosophical nature of the relationship between equality, individual rights, and human dignity, and seeks a normative framework for resolving seemingly incommensurable conflicts of fundamental rights. Part I explores theories of individual partiality, and the potential for consonance between contemporary egalitarian rights theory and a specificationist methodology for the resolution of incommensurable value conflicts. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 put forward an interpretation of human dignity based upon particular conceptions of individual moral equality and partiality; while chapter 5 moves on to explore the relationship between egalitarian rights theory and specification theory, with a view to providing a theoretical framework for resolving seemingly incommensurable conflicts of rights. Part II comprises three in-depth chapters providing close legal analyses of contemporary constitutional rights conflicts, demonstrating how the normative understanding of the nature of rights and their conflicts gained in Part I can inform the way we think about real life value conflicts. Chapters 6 explores the conflict in liberal values between religious liberty and women’s equal dignity; Chapter 7 considers the normative implications of BRCA genetic patenting for human dignity; and Chapter 8 investigates the recent US Supreme Court decision to strike down the equal protection clauses of the US Voting Rights Act 1965 as unconstitutional, and explores the role the past ought to play in the justification of contemporary rights. These case studies apply an egalitarian-specificationist methodology to the critical analysis of contemporary conflicts of constitutional rights, with a view to critiquing the normative implications of our current approach to resolving seemingly irreconcilable conflicts of fundamental rights today.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Moral Equality and Rights: A Specificationist Account of Rights in Conflict
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Laws
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1463364
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