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    Mary's Wollstonecraft's conception of rights

    James, Susan (2016) Mary's Wollstonecraft's conception of rights. In: Berges, S. and Coffee, A. (eds.) The Social and Political Philosophy of Mary Wollstonecraft. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 148-165. ISBN 9780198766841.

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    Abstract

    Mary Wollstonecraft is celebrated for her Vindication of the Rights of Woman. However, while her title suggests that rights must play an important part in improving women’s situation, it is less clear how she envisages them. What does she think rights are and how are they to transform women’s lives? I argue that Wollstonecraft blends two traditions, a republican conception of rights as powers to act, and a distinct conception of natural rights. She offers a radical development of republican rights theory, but, in order to resolve one of the problems it poses, resorts to divinely-ordained rights of nature. Is she alone in combining these two stances? In the final part of the chapter I show that she is not. Her position belongs to a historical trend in which republicanism gives way to a liberal outlook grounded on individual natural rights.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Book Section
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Philosophy
    Depositing User: Susan James
    Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2017 09:20
    Last Modified: 12 Apr 2017 08:20
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/18071

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