Various senses of "having (a) right(s)"
- "Nanci has rights" just means "there are (morally) right and wrong ways of treating Nanci." In this sense, even utilitarians can admit that individuals "have rights," but "having rights" in this sense just means counting for something from the moral point of view.
- "Nanci has a right to X" means "Nanci has no obligation not to X." To have a right to X in this sense just means that one's Xing would be morally permissible. Such rights are often called "liberties" or "privileges." An example of "having a right" in this sense might be having the right to run for office or having the right to sell your car."
- "Nanci has a right to X" means "No one may interfere with Nanci's Xing." Such rights are often called "negative rights" or "rights to non-interference." An example might be the right to free speech.
- "Nanci has a right to X" means "Someone has a duty to provide Nanci with X." Such rights are often called "claim rights." An example might be the right to a public education.