Keywords: Social Philosophy; Concept of Law; Human/Fundamental Rights; Commons; Forms of Democracy.
This article advances a reading of rights that moves away from the individualistic nuances characterizing today's prevailing conceptions. To this end, it first delineates how one can come to a concept of law able to offer a suitable counterpoint for a richer conceptualization of rights: the philosopher needs both to reformulate the question from which s/he starts off and to make the most of the synergies that such a reformulation favours. The article then provides a reconstruction of some key junctures in the historical development of rights with a view to grasping their specific nature vis-à-vis the political form where they have shaped up, which is to say, national-constitutional states, which will then become democratic-constitutional. The argument this reconstruction implies is that understanding rights largely depends on the way they are read and justified, also in the framework of a specific historical-social configuration of the law. In the light of a subtler reading/justification than the widespread views, the article concludes by considering the relationship among law, rights and democracy with respect both to the dynamics of the neoliberal society and to possible revisions of a political sphere that intends to become authentically democratic.