The Psychology of Rights and Duties: Empirical Contributions and Normative Commentaries
This cross-disciplinary book investigates how morality translates into action by presenting original psychological research on our understanding of rights and duties. This topical focus is especially timely in our post 9/11 world where the relative rights and duties of citizens and our government are foremost in our minds.
One of the book's goals is to explore the general public's ideas (both in the U.S. and abroad) about rights versus duties, so that legislative and policy changes can be based on solid support, not assumptions. Two strategies are used to lead readers toward a better understanding of human rights and duties.
Chapters by empirical researchers present findings on citizens' commonsense understandings of rights and duties, while normative chapters by leading social theorists conceptualize rights and duties from many perspectives. By contrasting present-day circumstances of life in many social spheres with the world of ideas, the editors expose the debate between what human rights and duties are and what they ought to be. The contributors respond to a number of provocative questions raised by the authors, including:
- Can duties have primacy over rights in one culture, while another is rights-centered?
- Are rights and duties imposed from the outside, or do they evolve as the self develops?
- Does a set of "universal" rights and duties exist?
- How does power in individual or group-to-group relationships affect rights and duties?