Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 199
Taking Rights Seriously is American legal scholar Ronald Dworkin's 1977 treatise on the philosophy of law and jurisprudence.
As a non-fiction text, Taking Rights Seriously does not have characters in the traditional way in which that term is generally used in literature. In fact, each of the individual chapters of the book is a self-contained part of the complete whole. As Dworkin notes in his preface, they were each revisions of papers he had previously published in scholarly legal journals over a period of many years.
That said, while individuals are not featured in this series of analytical papers, one central, corporate character appears throughout: lawyers. Dworkin addresses "lawyers" by assigning to them general characteristics which, across the whole of the volume, gives to them a specific class personality.
Early in the book, Dworkin poses a question:
If we ask why lawyers argue about these concepts, however, we can see why this doctrine appears irrelevant.
Across the rest of the volume, Dworkin constructs the idea that this character class of "lawyers" argues against the fault of their clients because "as a matter of habit or conviction ... he believes it is morally wrong to punish someone for something not his fault."
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