In Fundamental Legal Conceptions by Wesley Hohfeld, he argues that there are four types of rights: 'claims', 'liberties', 'powers', or 'immunities'. When a person has a claim right to something, they have an entitlement to recieve something from a second party. Having a liberty right entitles a person to be able to do something, such as the right of a man to grow a beard if he wants to, or the right to dress as one pleases in his or her own home. A power right gives the right-holder an entitlement to require something of a second party. An immunity right exempts the right-holder from an action of a second party.

As you can see from the above, each of these rights involves the right-holder and the variable 'second party'. This creates the following correlates to each of the four rights: If one person has a claim right to something, another person has a duty to provide it. If someone has a liberty right, someone else has no claim to that person, for example if you have the liberty to do as you please in a certain situation, no one else can have a claim right to require you to do something else. The correlate of a power right is a liability, and the correlate of an immunity right is no power: if someone is expempt from something, no one else has the power to subject them to it.

If follows from this that the correlate of one right is the opposite of another right.

    claim ----> no liberty
    liberty ----> no claim

    power ----> no immunity
    immunity ---> no power

Though Hohfeld was writing strictly about legal rights, some contemporary philosophers believe 1913-1917 work is not confined to the legal arena, but has applications to moral rights, including the ever-elusive human rights, making this a useful analysis.

Sources: A.J.M. Milne, Human Rights and Human Diversity; Rex Martin, On Hohfeldian Liberties.

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