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The Significance of a Duty’s Direction: Claiming Priority Rather than Prioritizing Claims

by Marcus Hedahl

Agents do not merely have duties – they often have directed duties to others. This paper first reveals problems with traditional attempts to equate these directed duties with claims and claim rights. It then defends a novel account of directionality that locates the unifying element of directed duties in a counterparty’s prioritization of the duties owed to her. If one agent has a directed duty to another, then the degree to which fulfilling the duty matters to the agent to whom it is owed itself matters – in a distinctive, special and inherent sense. This subject-determined normative significance of directed duties can be used to articulate a priority account of directionality, an account that can demonstrate why many have taken control powers, interests or the authority to demand compliance to be so important in analyzing the directed duties we owe to others.

ISSN 1559-3061
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