The Liberal Conception of Justice

Randy E. Barnett

in The Structure of Liberty

Published in print February 2000 | ISBN: 9780198297291
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598777 | DOI:
The Liberal Conception of Justice

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The liberal conception of justice is introduced and refined in light of the need to address the first‐order problem of knowledge. ‘Justice’ is respect for the rights of individuals and associations. These rights include: (1) The right of several property specifies a right to acquire, possess, use, and dispose of scarce physical resources—including their own bodies. While most property rights are freely alienable, the right to one's person is inalienable. (2) The right of first possession specifies that property rights to unowned resources are acquired by being the first to establish control over them. (3) The right of freedom of contract specifies that a rightholder's consent is both necessary (freedom from contract) and sufficient (freedom to contract) to transfer alienable property rights.

Keywords: first possession; freedom of contract; inalienable rights; justice; liberalism; property rights; resources; several property

Chapter.  11135 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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