Aboriginal Rights: Gauthier's Arguments for Despoilation Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • In a recent review David Gauthier presents two arguments designed to support the eminently comforting belief that, while recognizing aboriginal rights in Canada will entail some costs for the dominant European community, these costs will be of a comparatively modest nature, and certainly far less than the sort of compensation currently claimed by the indigenous peoples themselves. Unfortunately for the Europeans, but fortunately for the indigenes, there seems to be no moral justification whatsoever for the arguments he adduces. In fact, the only way his arguments can be made to work is by assuming that radically different sets of moral principles operate for different peoples. As usually happens in such cases, the Europeans get better protection from the moral principles designed for them, than the aborigines do from the principles designed (as it happens, by the Europeans) for them.

publication date

  • December 1981