The Idea of Property in Law

Paperback | September 1, 2000

byJames Penner

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Of importance for both philosophers and legal theorists interested in the nature of property, this book vindicates the commonsense idea that the right to property is a right to things. Distinguishing between the `practice' of property and the `practice' of contract is essential for a properunderstanding, but the failure to do so is common. As the author shows, it mars both Locke's and Hegel's philosophies of property, and continues to contribute to confusion. It also obscures the central element of sharing and giving in the ownership of property, the important of which has beengenerally neglected. Perhaps most controversially, the author argues that the justification of the right to property is not dependent on the justice of the reigning distribution of property-that is a question which concerns the justice of the economy-gift, command, market, or mixed-that distributesall values, not just rights in property. The important `distributional' question about property is this: to what values does the property practice apply? Why does it apply to castles and cars, books and bank balances, but not to our body parts and our labour, nor to our employment contracts and oursexuality? In answer the author develops a distinction between persons and our personality-rich relationships which cannot be objects of property, and `things', both land and objects and personality-poor relationships like debts, which can.

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Of importance for both philosophers and legal theorists interested in the nature of property, this book vindicates the commonsense idea that the right to property is a right to things. Distinguishing between the `practice' of property and the `practice' of contract is essential for a properunderstanding, but the failure to do so is com...

Dr James Penner is Lecturer in Law at the London School of Economics

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Format:PaperbackPublished:September 1, 2000Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198299265

ISBN - 13:9780198299264

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Date published: 2002-05-01

Extra Content

Table of Contents

IntroductionThe Elements of a Normative SystemThe Individuation of the Law of PropertyThe Right to Property: The Exclusion ThesesThe Objects of Property: The Reparability ThesisThe Duty of Non-Interference and OwnershipProperty and Contract I: The Power to Sell and the Influence of MarketsProperty and Contract II: Hegel's Idea of PropertyProperty and Contract III: Locke and the Consent to Market DistributionThe Role of PropertyBibliography