The Value of Ownership
University of California, Berkeley - School of Law
Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol. 9, p. 404, 2001; and Meir Dan-Cohen, HARMFUL THOUGHTS: ESSAYS ON LAW, SELF, AND MORALITY, Princeton University Press, April 2002, Forthcoming
The value of ownership is ordinarily thought to derive from the benefits that objects offer, and from the rights to those benefits in which ownership is thought to consist. This dominant view leaves important aspects of ownership unexplained: the value collectors attach to owning worthless objects, pride of ownership, the per se wrongfulness of trespass, and others. As a solution to these puzzles the paper argues that property's relationship to the self resembles the body's: both fall within the scope of "I", thus licensing the use of the possessive pronoun "my" to describe the relationship. Consequently, like the body, property too can activate values and attitudes, such as autonomy, dignity, and pride, that have an individual human being as their target.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 59Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: January 17, 2002
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