Right, Duty and Obligation/Responsibility: a Search for Ethical

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Dr. Ani Casimir K.C
1) Introduction:

Immanuel Kant gave philosophy four fundamental questions with which it is to concern itself and they are:
(1) What can I know? ;
(2) What is man?;
(3) What can I hope for, and,
(4) Finally, what ought I to do.
The latter—‘what ought I to do?’ is the central subject of ethics,or what is variously called moral philosophy or philosophy of morality. With the concepts of ‗right‘, ‗duty‘ and obligation‘ and responsibility, we move into the science of ‗oughts‘ that define the moral foundation of human society and the stability of its social fabric. The Kantian challenge here is that before we can build a morally
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At this juncture, we readily see that right makes us to remember the idea of duty. The concepts of justice, right and fairness, stand to each other as correlatives. But in a legal sense, a right translates into ―a claim which a person can make against others with the backing of the law. The person pressing for a claim to secure his right does so with explicit or implicit knowledge that the law recognizes that right and will justly rationalize his claim to award a compensation where necessary‘.3
An ethical right must conform to not only the moral law but also to the principles of natural rights embedded in natural law. On the other hand, legal rights must conform to the principles of positive rights whose validity derive from the positive law or the man-made law of the state. Currently there is an increasing movement for the establishment
of an African legal system or jurisprudence which will be based upon not only what the law is (positive law) but also what the law ought to be (African public moral values). A June 2008 international conference with the theme ‗the law and Africa‘ organised by the Department of Philosophy University of Nigeria,
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