Avihay Dorfman, ‘Private Ownership and the Standing to Say So’

Property theory is an ongoing discourse attempting to articulate a compelling answer (or answers) to the following question: what is the single most significant or otherwise interesting thing about the concept of private ownership? In this article, I seek to advance three general claims in response to this question. First, I criticize certain leading attempts to answer this question. Second, the centerpiece of my article defends the claim that an adequate theory of the concept of private ownership must begin with the special standing that an owner possesses, which is to say the standing to demand that others will take the owner as reason-providing for them. Third, I argue that private ownership occupies an important place in between the public and the pre-political: One the one hand, private ownership reflects a genuinely private-law institution; and, on the other, it is a distinctive creature of the political order.

Dorfman, Avihay, Private Ownership and the Standing to Say So (September 6, 2013). University of Toronto Law Review, 2014, Forthcoming.

First posted 2013-09-09 05:35:37

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