Chapter

The Benefit of Another's Pains: Original Acquisition and Parasitic Action

Gijs van Donselaar

in The Right to Exploit

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780195140392
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199871483 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195140392.003.0003
The Benefit of Another's Pains: Original Acquisition and Parasitic Action

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David Gauthier's “Lockean proviso” implied the prohibition of parasitic actions—actions that improve one's position through the worsening of the position of someone else. This chapter tests the soundness of this principle as an interpretation of the intentions of John Locke himself. It also discusses another interpretation of the proviso, that of Jeremy Waldron, which would imply that Gauthier's account of it is false. Waldron's contentions imply that the proviso does not prohibit parasitism. It argues against Waldron's position and puts Gauthier in the right on this point. Finally, the chapter considers Robert Nozick's effort to come to terms with some of the problems and ambiguities that are inherent in the Lockean proviso, and argues that he fails. It also shows, on the basis of other elements of his theory, that Nozick is a consistent enemy of exploitation after all.

Keywords: David Gauthier; Lockean proviso; parasitic actions; John Locke; Jeremy Waldron; Robert Nozick

Chapter.  14473 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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