As depicted in figure I. the basic member of an intrinsic general right-duty constellation is the general duty to do 'good' or not to do 'bad' in terms of a particular doctrine. If, and insofar as, it is a duty to perform a 'right' act, it is --what we shall call-- an 'activating duty'. (Traditionally speaking this is a 'positive' duty. ) If, and insofar as, it is a duty not to perform a 'wrong' act, it is --what we have already called-- a 'nonactivating duty'. On a decision-theoretical consequentialist or otherwise teleological scheme the activating duty is to aim at the goal or goals of the system, to serve its purposes. In a nonactivating form it is the duty not to do anything that has harmful or bad effects with respect to this goal or these goals.

The first party's duty corresponds with the general 'right' to do 'good' or not to do 'bad' in the doxastic terms of the system. Like the coexistent party's 'right' in an extrinsic general constellation, also the first party's 'right' in an intrinsic general constellation is mandatory and nonexercisable. It is therefore a half-right, but now either activating or nonactivating dependent on the nature of the corresponding same-party duty.

Maybe, a particular act which an addressed person or group of persons has to perform (or to forbear from) must be to the advantage of everyone, or must be on the average to the advantage of all people or living beings, the fact remains that a particular action (or omission) will in general be to the advantage of some people, living beings or ecosystems, and to the disadvantage of others (while not affecting a third party). Within the bounds of the intrinsic general constellation those who benefit from the first party's duty to do 'good', and who ought to benefit from it (because that is what the 'goodness' depends upon), also have the right to the first party's performance (or omission), or to what results from it. If the first party has too much of a certain article, for instance, and another group too little, 'e has the intrinsic duty to give a part of it away (if not, then 'e does not have 'too much' in terms of the doctrine under consideration). Those who benefit from this act have an intrinsic right to it, or an intrinsic right to a just, less unequal distribution of those articles.

The living being(s) or ecosystem(s) which should benefit from the first party's dutiful act (or omission) do not only have the right to the advantages brought upon them, they are even supposed to accept those advantages. In the event that it sounds implausible that not only a giving party has the duty to give, but that a recipient party could also have the duty to take, this will probably be due to three confusions. Firstly, we are talking about intrinsic rights and duties: extrinsically speaking, the duty to take does not exist (nor the duty to give away what is, from the normative point of view, not someone else's property). Secondly, we are not talking about the rights and duties of particular agents who give and take, but about general rights and duties with indefinite addressees both at the giving and at the receiving side. And thirdly, every sensible normative doctrine will have to take the recipient party's minimization of unhappiness or its wishes or interests into account, and will thus solely 'force' recipients to take what they like to receive, or what will benefit them in the long run.

If, and insofar as, the first party's duty is activating, the right of the party to be advantaged in an intrinsic general right-duty constellation is a passive right. If, and insofar as, the first party's duty is nonactivating, it is an active right. These rights have also been called "right of recipience" and "right of action" respectively. Just as the core element of an active right is a liberty (corresponding to someone else's refraining from something), so the core element of a passive right is a claim (corresponding to someone else's duty to do something). Whereas an active right is a 'liberty right', a passive right might therefore be classified as a 'claim right'. It is also a 'positive right' in one of its two traditional meanings. (On our construction an activating duty corresponds to an activating half-right of the same party, and a passive right of another party, while a nonactivating duty corresponds to a nonactivating half-right of the same party, and an active right of another party.)

As a general right the right of the advantaged party in an intrinsic general right-duty constellation is also a 'right against the world at large'. There is no direct, same-party duty corresponding to this right, or it must be the intrinsic 'duty' to accept the advantage(s) of the first party's 'good' performance (or omission). The disadvantaged party on the other hand --because in practise it often cannot be avoided that there is such a party too-- has the intrinsic, real duty to accept the disadvantage(s) of that generally 'good' performance (or omission). For this party there is no direct right corresponding to this duty, or it must be the mandatory 'right' to the disadvantage(s), or to accept the disadvantage(s).

It may seem incredible or facetious to speak of a 'right', or even a half-right, to something disadvantageous to the bearer of the 'right' 'imself or itself. It would, indeed, certainly make no sense to conceive of such a 'right' in isolation, but we are never dealing with any right or duty in isolation; there are only constellations of rights and duties. Like in the case of extrinsic constellations, there is an element of reciprocity in the total system here too. The very membership of the general, natural or cultural, systems involved, whether formal or informal. is associated with both the rights and the duties to accept the advantages and the disadvantages of every act a person or party ought to perform (or refrain from) with respect to those systems or their members. Hence, tho a particular party may be the disadvantaged one on one occasion, it may be the advantaged one on another. (It remains to be seen, of course, what advantage and disadvantage mean. Only a utilitarian doctrine has no other choice than to define this in eudaimonist terms. Other doctrines may do this as well, but need not to.)

Whereas the disadvantaged party has no direct right other than the half-right to accept the immediate disadvantages of a particular act or omission, it does have indirectly all the rights and duties associated with membership of the kind of system(s) concerned. The same holds for the advantaged party and the first party. Temporally speaking, in the course of time, there probably is not even a definite person or group which is always the advantaged or disadvantaged one. If there is, justice requires that there should not be. Like in the case of extrinsic constellations, the reciprocity of the rights and duties is again due to the generality of these rights and duties. But if, and insofar as, the primary duty of the constellation is an activating one, the reciprocity is now conditional in that the party which would have the same duty in the case of equal return must be able to perform the same act. In this respect it may simply not belong to the same category as that of the first party. Yet, if it does, the rights and duties are reciprocal just like in an extrinsic constellation. Depending on the ability to reciprocate, the advantaged party will thus also have the reciprocal, general duty to do 'good', which is an indirect duty for an advantaged party in an intrinsic constellation. Correlated with this indirect duty is the first perty's reciprocal right against the world at large, which is, similarly, an indirect right for this party.

All rights and duties (but one) in an intrinsic general right-duty constellation are created by or derive from the first party's general duty to do 'good' or not to do 'bad'. Altho this duty itself may be thought of as being fundamental as a duty, it is not fundamental from the perspective of the doctrine involved. The duty to do 'good' or not to do 'bad' in doxastic terms is based on or justified by means of the principle(s) of a particular normative doctrine. That is why this duty is 'intrinsic': intrinsic with regard to this particular doctrine and its one or more principles. Fundamental are only those principles. If the doctrine in question is utilitarian, for instance, then no duty or right is to be recognized which disserves the ultimate value of utility. Some utilitarians have argued that the recognition of (nonlegal) rights, or rights and duties, is itself good for nothing, or even harmful to utilitarian ends -- 'nonsense upon stilts', so to say. Whether this is true or not, if true, it does or would solely apply to intrinsic rights and duties. It does have no bearing whatsoever on the appropriateness of the concept of an extrinsic right-duty constellation.

©MVVM, 41-67 ASWW

Model of Neutral-Inclusivity
Book of Instruments
Right-Duty Constellations
Seven Parties with Their Rights and Duties