Article Title

Private Requitals


Previously, I examined the establishment of a person’s substantive rights and, correlatively, duties. But this was only the first step. This Article addresses the second step: the means for recognizing requital rights violations, including their articulation, adoption, and implementation. Taking a deontic, individualistic perspective on rights, this Article aims to delineate and protect one’s personal freedom, one’s autonomy. To do so, this Article, using a formal understanding of the categorical imperative, will examine whether an agent’s chosen maxims are deontically acceptable. The maxims need to be both first-order, substantive ones that establish autonomy boundary baselines, and second-order, requital ones that address violations of the baselines. Important elements in perhaps all maxims, both first- and second-order, are the notions of harm, wrongfulness, and blameworthiness. Once an agent’s substantive and requital maxims are properly in place and honored, she is truly in a position to be an autonomous person.