The Scope of Justice: Whom Should Rights Protect?
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This thesis argues that the strongest account of moral rights entails that animals and other marginal cases hold rights. The thesis contends that mutual advantage social contract theories offer the strongest account of rights from a security perspective, and that such theories entail rights for animals and marginal cases. Both of these claims are widely contested. Chapter 1 examines the fundamental elements of a social contract theory as developed by Hobbes and Hume. Chapter 2 revises the fundamental elements of contract theory to make them more persuasive, and derives from them an account of rights for animals and marginal cases. Chapter 3 examines the most plausible competing accounts of rights for animals and marginal cases: utilitarianism, neo-Kantianism, and capability theory. Chapter 4 argues that the mutual advantage account of rights is better than the leading competitors from a security perspective.