Property and Authority

31 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2019

Date Written: August 12, 2019


It is widely believed that personal property rights are to be justified by reference to the interest potential owners have in controlling things that matter to them. The first part of the paper develops one form of this view, highlighting its several theoretical merits. I then raise two problems for the control interest hypothesis (as I call it) and defend a novel alternative, one based on the idea that human beings have an interest in controlling their normative situation. This authority interest hypothesis shares the merits of the control interest hypothesis whilst lacking its defects.

Suggested Citation

Owens, David, Property and Authority (August 12, 2019). Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol. 27, No. 3, 2019, Available at SSRN: or

David Owens (Contact Author)

Kings College London ( email )

Philosophy Building
The Strand
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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