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Human Rights, Ownership, and the Individual$
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Rowan Cruft

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198793366

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198793366.001.0001

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Modest Property Rights for the Right-Holder’s Sake

Modest Property Rights for the Right-Holder’s Sake

(p.210) 12 Modest Property Rights for the Right-Holder’s Sake
Human Rights, Ownership, and the Individual

Rowan Cruft

Oxford University Press

Chapter 12 assesses arguments that certain specific property rights, and some general rights to participate in property systems, can be morally justifiable for the right-holder’s own sake—primarily on the basis of the right-holder’s own good—in a way that makes them ‘natural’ or recognition-independent rights. Versions of such arguments based on the importance of the right-holder’s freedom, her chosen purposes, and her other human rights, are developed from the work of Hegel, Locke, and Nickel, respectively. The chapter shows that the reach of these arguments is limited. Some property rights might indeed be ‘natural’ rights groundable for the right-holder’s sake, but the chapter’s arguments imply that most property held by those who are moderately wealthy cannot be—including any property rights morally justifiable only as the results of a market exchange.

Keywords:   natural rights arguments for property, Hegel on property, Locke on property, Nickel on property, linkage arguments for human rights, taxation, market exchange

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