In this book, Professor Stone traces the development of the idea of legal rights, reminding that children, old people, women, aliens, and "minorities" have been treated as without rights in many societies throughout human history. Although each new movement to confer rights on some new "entity" may have seemed "odd or frightening or laughable" at the time, Stone points out that legal rights have been extended and previously rightless people (and things) have come to be recognized and valued for themselves. he then develops his thesis and proposal that we give legal rights to "natural objects" in the environment--and to the natural environment as a whole.

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