Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

A philosophical argument for a bill of rights

Fabre, Cécile (2000) A philosophical argument for a bill of rights. British Journal of Political Science, 30 (1). pp. 77-98. ISSN 0007-1234

Download (177kB) | Preview
Identification Number: 10.1017/S0007123400000041


This article seeks to show that the rights which protect people’s autonomy should be entrenched in the constitution of a democratic state. It is firmly located in egalitarian liberal tradition, as it takes for valid the following claims: (1) people have a fundamental interest in autonomy; (2) people have rights that their interest in autonomy, and the interests to which it gives rise, be protected and promoted; (3) people’s respective interests in autonomy must be protected equally. The argument for a bill of rights unfolds as follows: first, it is argued that we have autonomy-protecting rights not only against private individuals but also against the state, and the meaning of having such rights against the state is explained; then it is shown that it is legitimate to turn certain autonomy-protecting moral rights into legal rights, and that doing so in the case of the rights we have against the state amounts to turning them into constitutional rights; lastly, two objections to the argument deployed earlier are countered.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: Copyright © 2000 Cambridge University Press. LSE has developed LSE Research Online so that users may access research output of the School. Copyright and Moral Rights for the papers on this site are retained by the individual authors and/or other copyright owners. Users may download and/or print one copy of any article(s) in LSE Research Online to facilitate their private study or for non-commercial research. You may not engage in further distribution of the material or use it for any profit-making activities or any commercial gain. You may freely distribute the URL (<>) of the LSE Research Online website.
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2006
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2021 02:36

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics