Property and Persons: Some Preliminary Thoughts on Inherent Inalienability
Posted: 11 Oct 2013
Date Written: October 10, 2013
What is property? What is the self? What is the relationship between property and the self? These questions have captured the imaginations of generations of scholars in fields as diverse as law, philosophy and psychology. This paper approaches these questions by defining property as, at least, not selves. While this definition may seem obvious to some, the paper lays out one theoretical basis for property which begins from the notion of a property interest in one’s self and examines the philosophical dialectic in which this theory is embedded. The paper then undertakes to demonstrate both the conceptual and effective problems associated with conceiving of the interest one has in one’s self as a property interest asserting that such a conception mischaracterizes the concepts of both the self and property. Finally the paper considers the historical development of property crimes suggesting that the trajectory towards the protection of property qua property is an example of what may result if we conceive of the interest is one’s self in the same terms as the interest in one’s things.
Keywords: Property, Autonomy, Labor Theory, Self
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