Philosophy of Property Law, Three Ways
Cambridge Companion to Law and Philosophy, Forthcoming
18 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2017
Date Written: November 22, 2017
Is property in some way basic to our moral lives? Many have thought so. For Aristotle, moral virtues, like liberality, presuppose some idea of property, for one can display liberality only with respect to what is one’s own. For Kant, property is a requirement of freedom in the external world. For Locke, property, allocated according to principles of labour and desert, is basic to the very idea of justice that our political institutions are meant to secure. Others have denied that property is foundational in this way, suggesting rather that property is one strategy available to us in meeting the demands of our general theories of justice but is not itself morally basic. There are, I argue, three levels of philosophical inquiry that are aimed at working out property’s moral salience. I offer one view of what that might be.
Keywords: jurisprudence, property, philosophy of law, justice
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