The Objects of Virtue
PROPERTY AND COMMUNITY, pp. 1-37, Gregory S. Alexander, Eduardo Penalver, eds., New York, Oxford University Press, 2010
38 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2011 Last revised: 4 Apr 2012
Date Written: April 4, 2012
Beginning from the premise that private property – traditional and intellectual – must be defined in its social context and in through the interplay of relationships and objects, I have tried in analytic terms to build an alternative to rights-based understanding of the concept of private property. More work, however, needs to be done on the kinds of actions regarding resources that are permissible or desirable on this larger understanding.
This essay takes up that challenge in part by trying to elaborate some of the ways in which Aristotelian and Thomistic theories of property and virtue might have an impact on the understanding of the concept of private property itself. Specifically, the idea of private in ownership, common is use is explored. This virtue-based theory of private property, focusing as it does on the uses to which objects are put and the ways in which the acceptability of such uses are determined, would form the most complete basis for any communitarian theory of property.
Keywords: private property, virtue, ethics, possession, common good
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