Chapter 9 builds on the topic, introduced in chapter 8, of what happens when there are conflicts between different rights. Previously, Kamm has considered what we (or, ‘an agent’) ought to do when faced with a conflict between different people’s negative rights, and has argued that we should minimise transgression of rights. The discussion of rights becomes more complicated in chapter 9, as she introduces consideration of positive rights, and also looks at the factors (including, but not limited to, interests) that should sway us in the direction of according one right rather than another.

The concept of human nature is an interesting one. This is partly because, although it’s a familiar concept, and one of which most people have at least a prima facie grasp; there are problems with arriving at a satisfactory, robust definition of it that will support normative philosophical claims. (For an account of some problems associated with defining human nature, see David Hull (1986) ‘On Human Nature‘, PSA 2: 3-13). In trying to understand it and work out how to tackle such problems, it’s interesting to look at similar concepts. One that I keep coming back to is the concept ‘physical’.