The concept of rights based ethics is that there are some rights, both positive and negative, that all humans have based only on the fact that they are human. These rights can be natural or conventional. That is, natural rights are those that are moral while conventional are those created by humans and reflect society's values.
Rights Based Ethics System: Examples
- The right to life
- The right to liberty
- The right to pursue happiness
- The right to a jury trial
- The right to a lawyer
- The right to freely practice a religion of choice
- The right to express ideas or opinions with freedom as an individual
- The right of individuals or organizations to express opinions or share information freely in written medium
- The right to come together and meet in order to achieve goals
- The right to be informed of what law has been broken if arrested
- The right to call witnesses to speak on one's behalf if accused of a crime
- The right of a person to be treated with respect and dignity even after beign found guilty of a crime
- The right to freely live and travel within the country
- The right to work
- The right to marry
- The right to bear children
- The right to free education
- The right to join any peaceful parties or groups of choice
- The right to be free from slavery
- The right to not be tortured
- The right to be treated as equal to others
- The right to be considered to be innocent until proven guilty
- The right to personal privacy
- The right to own property
Understanding Rights Based Ethics
The United States is founded upon a Rights Based Ethics System in which citizens are believed to have certain unalienable rights. John Locke was one of the primary supporters of this type of system as it takes the perspective of what the ideal world looks like and creates a rights system based upon those ideas.
- The United States of America's Bill of Rights is a document that epitomizes the type of rights that are embraced by Rights Based Ethical Systems.
- The Univeral Declaration of Human Rights is another document that embraces and exhibits the values of a Rights Based Ethical System.
Beauchamp and Childress, authors and ethical theorists, have defined the term "right" to be a "justified claim that individuals and groups can make upon other individuals or upon society; to have a right is to be in a position to determine by one's choices, what others should do or need not do."
Rights can be legal in nature, or pertain to human rights or moral rights.
The opposite of rights based ethics are utilitarian ethics. Utilitarian ethics are based on the maximization of "good outcomes" and minimizations of "bad outcomes."
Now these examples help to show exactly what a rights based ethics system is like.