Green's rights recognition thesis and moral internalism

Gerald F. Gaus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


T. H. Green claimed that 'rights are made by recognition. There is no right but thinking makes it so'. This 'rights recognition thesis' is widely rejected. I argue in this article that, so far from being an idiosyncratic doctrine of 19th-century British Idealism, the rights recognition thesis implies a compelling conception of rights, and one that, surprisingly, is more in tune with contemporary meta-ethics than are many contemporary rights theories. Green's moral theory, I argue, is a form of the widely embraced doctrine of 'moral internalism'. Such internalism, conjoined with a generally embraced analysis of rights, leads to some version of the rights recognition thesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-17
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Journal of Politics and International Relations
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Green's rights recognition thesis and moral internalism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this