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Side-constraints are anything that acts to confine or restrict. The focus here is on moral side-constraints. When we speak of moral side-constraints, we have an understanding of moral rights as requiring that nothing be done to prevent those rights being exercised. So, for example, conceived of in a side-constraint way, a right to freedom of speech requires that nothing should be done to prevent actions qualifying as an exercise in freedom of speech. In short, side-constraints are moral rights conceived of as bestowing an absolute right of noninterference in the exercise of a right.

It is a conception of moral rights that, although variously articulated earlier and elsewhere as part of a long tradition in thinking about rights, finds its definitive statement and first labeling as ...

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