Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Property and Personhood Revisited

Wake Forest Journal of Law & Public Policy, Forthcoming

Lewis & Clark Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-23

55 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2010 Last revised: 15 Nov 2010

Jeff Jones

Lewis & Clark Law School

Date Written: July 14, 2010


Almost thirty years have passed since publication of Margaret Jane Radin’s seminal work, Property and Personhood, in Stanford Law Review. Since publication, the article has been cited over 700 times. The doyens of property law and theory, and leading scholars in other subject areas, readily have called upon Radin’s piece.

In the article Professor Radin makes a compelling case for two claims. First, proper self-development, or personhood, requires individuals to have secure control over some things in their external environment in the form of property rights. Professor Radin calls property in service of personhood “personal” property. Second, property for personhood is one justification for property rights in general, but also for some current schemes of property entitlement. Professor Radin cites special protections accorded to home residence, rules governing eminent domain power, and free speech limitations on private property as examples of existing property rights that align with property for personhood.

This article presents a theory of property for personhood grounded in social science. The article is responsive to recent calls by scholars for greater research in the social psychology of property as it pertains to property law. The theory follows the framework established by Professor Radin, but uses material culture studies and other social science data to develop enriched accounts of personhood and object relations. The result is an entirely new personhood perspective and theory of property for personhood, including the types of property eligible for legal protection. Part I develops a new personhood perspective, that is, new accounts of personhood and object relations. Using this new personhood perspective, Part II introduces a new theory of property for personhood.

Keywords: Radin, Hegel, property, personhood, personal, legal theory, philosophy, law, chattel, objects, things

Suggested Citation

Jones, Jeff, Property and Personhood Revisited (July 14, 2010). Wake Forest Journal of Law & Public Policy, Forthcoming; Lewis & Clark Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-23. Available at SSRN:

Jeff Jones (Contact Author)

Lewis & Clark Law School ( email )

10015 S.W. Terwilliger Blvd.
Portland, OR 97219
United States

Paper statistics

Abstract Views