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What is the relationship between a persons rights and his interests Conventional wisdom has come to hold the notion of a persons rights virtually within the same breath as his interests - that a persons rights and his interests are one and the same The rights of a person which are enshrined within the spirit of the negative liberties accorded to him or her by the state have come to symbolize the essence of the modern liberal democracies This indeed represents much progress for a concept once derided by Bentham as nonsense on stilts In this essay I will argue that a persons rights and his interests are not always necessarily synonymous Rather I would like to argue for a conception of rights as devices employed to grant special consideration and protection to certain interests that are deemed vital to the functioning of human rights There will therefore be interests that will not be protected by rights Moreover there are circumstances when rights may infringe upon a persons interests I will begin with a discussion of the present conception of rights followed by an analysis of the classical objections to theories of rights and how these apply to our current situation Raz offers a definition of rights which has gained considerable currency in the literature X has a right if and only if X can have rights and other things being equal an aspect of Xs well-being his interest is a sufficient reason for holding some other persons to be under a duty X can have any number of interests but only those deemed morally significant may generate rights Rights are grounds of duties in others although these duties are conditional and hence may or may not be exercised with the right bearer having the power to make this choice Core rights can also be the grounds of other derivative rights as in Razs example where the right to personal liberty generates the
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