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Anarchical Fallacies


In his essay “Anarchical Fallacies,” Jeremy Bentham argues that “Natural rights is simple nonsense: natural and imprescriptible [i.e. inalienable] rights, rhetorical nonsense,—nonsense upon stilts.” Bentham will eventually conclude not only that these ideas are meaningless, but also quite dangerous.  How does Bentham support these conclusions, and what are his primary concerns with Locke and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man (1789)? (You should use Bentham’s text and Mill’s What Utilitarianism Is to fully develop these points.)  What is Locke’s argument for natural rights (in The Second Treatise of Government), and how might he best defend natural rights theory against Bentham’s argument?  Which do you think is a better account of the matter and why? Please defend your position. (If you choose to support neither of the two positions, this too much be defended by argument.)
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