General-Right-Based Arguments for Private Property

Jeremy Waldron

in The Right to Private Property

Published in print November 1990 | ISBN: 9780198239376
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679902 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

General-Right-Based Arguments for Private Property

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This chapter discusses how a general background argument for private property can do justificatory work that a purely SR-based argument cannot do. A general argument for private property is not beset by handicaps. Even if it is impossible to establish who is historically entitled to own what, still, on the basis of a general theory, it can be argued that it is desirable to have some sort of private property system. A general theory of private property — whether it is utilitarian or right-based — allows us to say what is important about private property systems without having to refer in the first instance to specified individuals' ownership of specified things.

Keywords: private property; specified things; historical entitlement; ownership

Chapter.  16482 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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