Metaphysical Right and Practical Obligations
16 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2018
Date Written: 2017
Richard Weaver was correct. Property jurisprudence in the last two decades has vindicated Weaver’s claim that property is the last metaphysical right. But Weaver was correct insofar as he had in mind a common-law property right. The lesson of the last three decades is that property is the last metaphysical right because and insofar as property dominion is the last pre-political source of obligation. The priority of property rights is rooted in the common law of wrongs. Because we have pre-political duties, we have pre-political liberties. Liberty grows out of a million discrete legal duties, each of those duties correlating exactly with the right of a human being, a moral agent, a possessor of practical reason.
Remarks delivered at the Spring 2017 meeting of the Philadelphia Society in Dallas, Texas.
Keywords: property, rights, duties, wrongs, rights theory, property theory
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation