Rights and Responsibilities

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9780802083456: Rights and Responsibilities
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The longstanding philosophical, political, and legal debate over the nature of rights has recently sprung into a raging liberal/communitarian controversy. With this book, Leon Trakman and Sean Gatien leap into the fray, presenting a powerful critique and reconceptualization of liberal rights theory.

The authors begin by setting out the current poles in the debate over rights as liberalism conceives them. The key flaw in liberal rights, they argue, is in protecting individual autonomy at the expense of community interests, such as those that relate to aboriginal peoples and the environment. Arguing that rights are inseparable from responsibilities, they develop a balanced, dialogic approach to rights theory, then follow through by deploying their conception of rights in four topical fields: freedom of expression, reproductive autonomy, Native rights, and international environmental protection.

Challenging many time-honoured liberal assumptions, the authors present a controversial yet persuasive treatise, substantiated with sound scholarship, powerful argument, and the light of reason.

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From the Inside Flap:

'This book is timely and deals with very important issues. I believe it will be a most valuable contribution to the subject of rights and responsibilities particularly because of its comprehensiveness, lucidity of expression, and insightful analysis.'

'Trakman and Gatien offer a promising approach to cope with current rights dilemmas. They test their ideas against very real complex modern problems: free speech, reproductive freedom, the interests of Native cultures, and international attempts to defend the environment. Their theory rests on a real foundation of fact. Serious people should take them seriously.'

'The intellectual mission of this book - to develop a more dialogic approach to rights - is an important and engaging one.'

'Brilliantly argued, beautifully written and highly original, Rights and Responsibilities offers profound insight into both the limitations and possibilities of rights.'

'The authors work a seam of the now-raging liberal-communitarian controversy, and by attempting to fashion a third way, their contribution is as topical as it is intriguing.'

About the Author:

Leon Trakman is Bora Laskin National Fellow and Professor of Law at Dalhousie Law School.

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Trakman, Leon; Gatien, Sean; Gatien, Sean.
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