Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

The Meaning of Property in Things

65 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2016 Last revised: 31 Aug 2017

Bart J. Wilson

Chapman University - Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy; Chapman University - Economic Science Institute (ESI); Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law

Date Written: August 7, 2017

Abstract

What is property, and why does our species happen to have it? In this paper I explore how Homo sapiens acquires and cognizes the custom of property and why this might be relevant to understanding how property works in the 21st century. I first support the claim that property is a universal and uniquely human custom and then I argue that humans locate the meaning of property within a thing. Using philosophy of property law and actual property disputes, I also explain (a) how my theory generates a testable hypothesis, (b) how the bundle of sticks metaphor inverts how we cognize property, and (c) how social scientists, economists in particular, can no longer think about property as an external constraint imposed upon an individual.

Keywords: property, chattels, semantics, cognition of property

JEL Classification: K00, K11

Suggested Citation

Wilson, Bart J., The Meaning of Property in Things (August 7, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2867734 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2867734

Bart Wilson (Contact Author)

Chapman University - Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy ( email )

One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866
United States
(714) 628-7306 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www1.chapman.edu/~bjwilson/

Chapman University - Economic Science Institute (ESI) ( email )

One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866
United States
(714) 628-7306 (Phone)

Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law ( email )

One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866-1099
United States
(714) 628-7306 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www1.chapman.edu/~bjwilson/

Paper statistics

Downloads
232
Rank
113,042
Abstract Views
897