Tuesday, March 3, 2009

While Mike enjoyed Dworkin's conceptualization of rights as trumps, I did not. I thought that the analogy was easy enough to understand and not unreasonable to make, but it didn't line up in significant ways. It almost seemed as though Dworkin was using these rights as trumps as a check and balance system against unrestricted utilitarianism, which is certainly a different interpretation of rights than has been presented in class as yet.

In card games, trump is the ultimate play, the one which brokers no argument. I think that to refer to rights as trumps is to give them more power and importance than they would have, especially in a standard utilitarian system like the one Dworkin envisions. Rights are more like the rules of the game, agreed upon and followed for the most part. The exceptions to rights or rules, assuming that the rights are not absolute, would then be the trump card, effectively making the normal rules no longer apply.

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