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Title: The claimability objection : a systematic defence
Author: Rettig Bianchi, C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7230 2403
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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Is it justified to hold that each individual has a (moral) human right to subsistence goods? O’Neill’s ‘claimability objection’ provides a negative answer to this question (O’Neill, 1986; 1988a; 1996; 2000; 2005). This argument can be divided in two parts. (1) It is justified to hold that the right-holder S has a right to P if and only if the duty-bearer is determined. Call this the ‘claimability condition’. (2) It is unjustified to hold that each individual has a human right to subsistence goods because it is systematically unclear ‘where claims should be lodged’ (O’Neill, 1996, p. 132). This argument has been received with perplexity and critical rejection in the literature. It has provoked a whole industry in human rights writing. Unfortunately, O’Neill has not developed her original statement in response to this discussion. Contrary to the main tendency in the literature, my aim is to provide a systematic defence of the claimability objection. This defence contains two related arguments. Concerning the first part of the claimability objection, I argue that the highly influential ‘interest-based argument’ against the claimability condition is untenable, but it is necessary to show why the claimability condition is justified. I argue that it is justified on the basis of the action-guiding character of rights. Concerning the second part of the claimability objection, I argue that O’Neill’s rejection of the human right to subsistence is prima facie justified if human rights are institutional-independent rights. However, any serious defence of the claimability objection must address three influential counter-arguments that assume different conceptions of human rights: the ‘institutional-independent argument’, the ‘practice-based argument’ and the ‘non-conventional argument’. I show that these arguments fail to undermine the claimability objection. In brief, this dissertation makes an important contribution to the literature by challenging the standard (critical) reception of the claimability objection.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available