Legal Rights: Historical and Philosophical Perspectives shows that the meaning and extent of rights has been dramatically expanded in this century, though along with the widespread and flourishing popularity of rights, voices of criticism have increasingly been raised. The authors take up the question of the foundation of rights and explore the postmodern challenges to efforts to ground rights outside of history and language. Can we have rights without foundations, and, if so, at what price to rights themselves? Is it possible to hold to rights if we are unable or unwilling to separate values from preference? In addition to philosophical questions, the subject of rights raises questions of historical interpretation. What are the historical sources of rights? What conditions bring them into being? What are their limits? Bringing rich historical analysis and careful philosophical inquiry into a productive dialogue this book explores the many facets of rights at the end of the twentieth century. In these essays, potentially abstract debates come alive as they are related to the struggles of real people attempting to cope with, and improve, their living conditions. The significance of legal rights is measured not just in terms of philosophical categories or as a collection of histories, but as they are experienced in the lives of men and women seeking to come to terms with rights in contemporary life.