Beyond Normative Control: Against the Will Theory of Rights


Bowen J (2020) Beyond Normative Control: Against the Will Theory of Rights. Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 50 (4), pp. 427-443.

The Will Theory of Rights says that having control over another’s duties grounds rights. The Will Theory has commonly been objected to on the grounds that it undergenerates right-ascriptions along three fronts. This paper systematically examines a range of positions open to the Will Theory in response to these counterexamples, while being faithful to the Will Theory’s focus on normative control. It argues that of the seemingly plausible ways the defender of the Will Theory can proceed, one cannot both be faithful to the theory’s focus on normative control as the grounds of rights and achieve extensional adequacy.

Rights; directed duties; Will Theory; autonomy; control

Canadian Journal of Philosophy: Volume 50, Issue 4

FundersArts and Humanities Research Council
Publication date31/05/2020
Publication date online31/01/2020
Date accepted by journal01/01/2020