Restitution and Inheritance

Daniel Butt

in Rectifying International Injustice

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780199218240
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191711589 | DOI:
Restitution and Inheritance

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This chapter focuses on the claim that present day parties have inherited entitlements to property which, owing to historic injustice, is currently in the possession of others. Those who advocate restitution as a response to wrongdoing argue that such property should be returned to the heirs of the historical victims. This inheritance-based model has often been rejected at a domestic level by theorists who reject the justifiability of inheritance. This response, however, is not available to international libertarians, who endorse backward-looking accounts of distributive justice. The chapter examines Jeremy Waldron's claim that property rights lapse in the absence of sustained possession, and holds that this need not be accepted if one sees international libertarianism as based on historical entitlement. It proceeds to challenge Janna Thompson's claim that the inheritance model is flawed as a result of its indeterminacy, maintaining that it need not rest upon counterfactual reasoning.

Keywords: historic injustice; property; justifiability; international libertarianism; distributive justice; historical entitlement; indeterminacy; counterfactual; Jeremy Waldron; Jana Thompson

Chapter.  16379 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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