Is there a human right to subsistence goods? A dilemma for practice-based theorists

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The much-discussed “claimability objection” holds that it is unjustified to believe that all individuals have a human right to subsistence because the bearers of the correlative duties are not sufficiently determined. This argument is based on the so-called “claimability-condition”: S has a right to P if and only if the duty-bearer is sufficiently determined. Practice-based theorists defend the human right to subsistence by arguing that if we take the existing human rights practice seriously, there is no indeterminacy about the allocation of duties. In this paper, I challenge this (apparently compelling) defense of the human right to subsistence with a dilemma. If the claimability condition is true, the practice-based defense fails to undermine the claimability objection because the duty-bearer is determined in some, but not all, cases. If practice-based theorists reject the claimability condition, they generate an account of human rights that is problematic from the practical perspective because it may contain duties that are unable to guide action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-260
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Philosophical Research
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Action-guiding duties
  • Claimability objection
  • Human right to subsistence
  • Human rights
  • Practice-based approach


Dive into the research topics of 'Is there a human right to subsistence goods? A dilemma for practice-based theorists'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this