PHIL 338:  Study Questions on Topic #7:  Robust Group Rights


1.  Explain and distinguish the following terms (you may use examples): 

individual right/robust group right

individual right of self-determination/robust group right of self-determination

external protection/internal constraint (from Kymlicka)


2. (a) What is an individual right?  (b) What is a robust group right?  (c) John is a student in PHIL 338 who missed the lectures on robust group rights.  John thinks that rights against discrimination are robust group rights, because such rights protect certain groups (e.g., Blacks, Latinos, women, gays, and lesbians).  Explain why John's understanding of robust group rights is mistaken.  (d) George realizes that a right against discrimination is not a robust group right, but he thinks that a right to affirmative action would be a robust group right.   Explain why George is mistaken.  (e) Give an example of a right that would be a robust group right and explain why it would be.  [To answer this question, you don't have to endorse any robust group rights.  You just have to be able to explain an example of what would be a robust group right if it were a right.]


3.  Crawford believes that group rights fall into two categories, and that the first category is more important than the second.  (a) What three rights does Crawford place in the first category?  (b) Explain each of them.  (c) Which of the three, if any, qualifies as a robust group right.  Explain your answer for each one.


4.  Kymlicka distinguishes three categories of group rights:  the good, the bad, and the intolerable.  (a) Explain his distinctions and give an example of each.  (b) Explain why Kymlicka's three categories do not require recognizing a robust group right to self-determination as a moral right (rather than a modus vivendi).


5.  (a) Explain why it is reasonable to categorize Kymlicka as an epistemically modest but metaphysically immodest advocate of human rights.  In your answer, you must show you understand what "epistemically modest" and "metaphysically immodest" mean.  (b) Kymlicka advocates coercive intervention to prevent certain kinds of human rights violations.  Explain how Kymlicka can do so without being a moral imperialist.  In your answer, you must show you understand what "moral imperialist" means.