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In her subtle and rigorous book, Margaret Gilbert develops a theory of what she calls ‘demand rights’. Demand rights are rights for which the right-holder has ‘the standing to demand the object of the right from the right’s addressee’ (p. 56). Part I identifies the problem of demand rights: ‘at the deepest level—is it possible for one person to accrue the standing to demand of another that he perform a given action?’ (p. 79). In Part II, Gilbert offers a positive account of demand rights. Gilbert argues that joint commitments are a fundamental ground of demand rights. Part III is a wide-ranging discussion of demand rights in morality, law, and human rights. Here I will restrict myself to commenting on some concerns I have about Gilbert’s account, especially her account of the relationship between directed duties and demand rights.


Kamm, Frances. "A Note on Margaret Gilbert’s Rights and Demands." Review of Rights and Demands: A Foundational Inquiry, by Margaret Gilbert. Law and Philosophy, 40 , February 2021: 89-95.