Taking Rights Seriously

by Ronald Dworkin
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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 151

Taking Rights Seriously, which was published in 1977 and written by philosopher Ronald Dworkin, is an anthology of 19 essays, all related to the law. The topics differ, but include: affirmative action, civil disobedience, and discussions of how the law interacts with economics. Dworkin examines in detail John Rawls's theory of justice as fairness, which can be described as the notion that all people hold the same basic equal rights. Dworkin adds to this theory, by suggesting that every individual should be treated with the same amount of respect and attention as everyone else. Dworkin also writes about how it is sometimes assumed that liberty and equality are mutually exclusive. Dworkin disagrees with this idea and states that liberty is only available to citizens as a result of the equal rights that should be afforded to all. He also contends that people have rights that extend beyond what is expressly written in law.

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