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2b. Rights - Semple High School

Rights

Rights are those objects of interest which …

Dilemma

Duty. Mrs. Jones, who also had a daughter attending Semple High School, was pondering to herself about what to say to the school’s Principal that afternoon when she was determined to object to the use of John Steinbach’s novel, Of Mice and Men in English classes. She felt she was right to object to the use of foul language in the book in class. Adolescents hear enough bad language on the street and in public places. More than that, she felt she had a duty to raise her objections because she had a right to do so. She simply had to make her case, first to the Principal and if he fails to act on her objection, then to the Board.

Rights. On second thought, she asked herself, ‘Should I raise objections to the use of the novel or someone else who might be more qualified to discuss this issue with the Principal?’ She concluded that she should confront the Principal because she had a right to do so.

Discussion

  • Should the parent confront the Principal because she had a right to do so? Explain.
  • Discuss other situations where people use this kind of thinking.

You may want to discuss other dilemmas.

Consider this view of ‘cannot deny rights’

  • Crooked thinking

‘Rights’ refers to people’s right to pursue their objects of interest.

  • Straight thinking

Rights are those objects of interest which it would be wrong for anyone to prevent a person from having or enjoying. For example, suppose it would be wrong for anyone to prevent a person from exercising freedom of speech. Then it could be said that a person has a right to exercise freedom of speech. On the other hand, suppose it would be wrong to interfere when several children hassle a new child in school. The children would not have a right to hassle the new child in school, even if that happened to be an object of interest for them.

Moral principle value tests

An application of the moral principle value tests probably illustrates most clearly what is entailed in evaluative reasoning. They are:

It is important to emphasize that the moral-value principle tests are not designed to resolve issues (guarantee right answers!) but to assess the ‘justification’ for moral value decisions.

To view the Dilemma from the perspective of Duty, Rights, Motives, Desert and Justice, click the following:

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