Douglas B. Rasmussen and Douglas J. Den Uyl maintain that a realist turn-namely, one in which the natural order is the basis for individual rights-is needed to bring about a proper understanding and defense of liberty. They argue that the critical character of individual rights results from their being tethered to metaphysical realism. After reprising their explanation and defense of natural rights, Rasmussen and Den Uyl explain metaphysical realism and defend it against neo-pragmatist objections. They show it to be a formidable and preferable alternative to epistemic constructivism and crucial for a suitable understanding of ideal theory.
Douglas B. Rasmussen is Professor of Philosophy at St. John's University, NYC, USA.
Douglas J. Den Uyl is Vice-President of Educational Programs at Liberty Fund, Indianapolis, USA.
Whence Natural Rights?
1. What's Wrong with Natural Rights?
2. Problems with the Non-Aggression Principle?
3. Why the Reluctance to Appeal to Natural Rights?
How to Understand and Justify Individual Rights: A Synopsis
1. Rights as a Moral Concept
Liberty as a Moral Notion
Understanding the Role of Rights
Why We Have Rights
A Realist Basis for Rejection of Equinormativity
2. The Primacy of Rights in Political Philosophy
The Virtue of Justice and Metanorms
Three Senses of Justice
Social Justice and Natural Endowments
1. Rights, Principles, and Practicality
Understanding the Context for Side-Constraints
The Range of Applicability of Individual Rights
On Being Practical
Ideals and Principles
2. Natural Rights as Principles
Objections to Natural Rights and Replies
1. Some Preliminary Objections
Natural Rights do not Precede their Implementation
Natural Rights are Over-Individualized
Natural Rights are Basically a Matter of Power
Natural Rights are neither Primary nor sufficiently Obligatory
2. A Basic Metaethical Objection
Natural Rights and the "Naturalistic Fallacy"
The Alleged Naturalistic Fallacy
Deeper Ontological and Epistemological Issues
Natural Rights are Grounded in Controversial Metaphysics
3. Impracticality Objections
The Irrelevance of Natural Rights
Natural Rights Fail to Guide
The Absoluteness of Natural Rights
The Impotency of Natural Rights
4. Natural Rights and the "Human Nature Problem"
The Failure of Inclusivity in Natural Rights
The Problematic Concept of Human Nature
1. MacIntyre, Rights, and Tradition
2. Natural Rights and Metaphysical Realism
On the Rejection of Metaphysical Realism for Ethical Knowledge
1. Essentialism without Realism
2. Finding Facts in a World of Values
Metaphysical Realism and Conceptual Relativity
Conceptual Relativity and Getting it Right
Idealized Rational Acceptability and the Democratization of Inquiry
3. Questioning Idealized Inquiry
Whose freedom? Which Way of Expressing Human Intelligence?
Ayn Rand and Universalizability: Asking Questions You Were Always Afraid to Ask
The Human Capabilities Approach: Legislating for Human Flourishing
Questioning the Criteria of Idealized Inquiry
On the Alleged Demise of Metaphysical Realism
1. Constructivism, Metaphysical Realism, and Aquinas's Distinction
2. Replying to some Basic Objections to Epistemological Realism
On Imposing a Conceptual Scheme on the World
The Problem of Hooking on to the World
A Neo-Aristotelian-Thomistic View of Concepts and Cognition
The Myth of the Framework
Defining the Nature of Something
On Being Fallible and Limited
3. Putnam, Metaphysical Realism, and Conceptual Relativism
The Importance of the Realist Turn
1. Ideal and Non-Ideal Theory
2. Facing a New Direction and/or Recovering an Old One