Rights are basic building blocks of the contemporary state and yet their rigorous justification is notoriously difficult. This book provides a thorough analysis of this central topic in modern political discourse. The book challenges the orthodox view that rights are a type of property claim in one's body. Drawing on the tradition of the social contract as well as the wealth of recent work in political theory the book argues for a different
conception of rights. Rights are conceived as a certain type of political claim, justified by a Kantian ideal of autonomy. Moreover, that justification provides a moral basis for rights that, while
independent of law and custom, is also tied to an image of citizenship particularly suited to the pluralistic nature of contemporary liberal society.