If it is indeed the case that “the social ontology of rights talk generally assumes that, at bottom, the kind of relation between social entities is conflictual or competitive,” then I dissociate myself from that generality. No guilt by association here; I don’t hang out with Hobbes. The agonistic social ontology that James K.A. Smith attributes to me is not mine. To affirm natural inherent rights is not to presuppose such an ontology, nor does my account of such rights presuppose such an ontology. Nothing Smith says shows anything to the contrary.Read the rest of Look elsewhere for agonistic social ontology: A response to Smith.
Nicholas Wolterstorff is the Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology at Yale University and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His many books include Until Justice and Peace Embrace and Justice: Rights and Wrongs.
Posts by Nicholas Wolterstorff:
I want to re-emphasize the structure of my discussion about secular accounts of human rights. The project of trying to ground human rights is the project of trying to find what it is about human beings that gives each and every one a dignity sufficient for their possessing human rights.Read the rest of Secular accounts: A response to Chambers.