Freedom to Roam

Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 21 (2):209-233 (2022)
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Abstract

Some European countries legally recognise a “right to roam”—a right to freely traverse across land, even if privately owned. Political philosophers have paid little attention to the right, and have often conceptualised property rights to include strong claim-rights to exclude others. I offer an account of the right to roam, and consider whether it can be philosophically justified on a left-liberal account of property. After finding a defence in terms of the interests served by the right lacking, I suggest that the most promising defence of the right to roam is that it serves as a symbolic reminder of a fundamental type of social equality.

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Matthias Brinkmann
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München

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