[lit-ideas] Re: "A right and an obligation"

  • From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 7 Apr 2013 09:59:06 +0100 (BST)

 From: Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>
> Can my legal right to vote be construed as a moral obligation to do so ?

This question contains a key distinction between 'right' and 'obligation' in 
their legal and in their moral sense. 

The claim that one has both a right and an obligation to vote makes sense where 
it is being claimed, in effect, that one has both a legal right and a moral 
obligation to vote. There is no contradiction between a 'right' and an 
'obligation' where these terms are being used to denote, respectively, a legal 
position and a moral position.

Whereas to claim one has both a legal right and a legal obligation to vote is 
more problematic: for to say an act is required as a matter of legal obligation 
seemingly implies there is no legal 'right' or legal 'power' not to comply with 
the duty, and so where there is a legal obligation we may say that precludes 
that obligation being a legal 'right', as a legal 'right' is not a legal 
obligation but a power in respect of which we have a choice as to its exercise. 


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