The metaphysics of real estate

Topoi 20 (2):161-172 (2001)
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The thesis that an analysis of property rights is essential to an adequate analysis of the state is a mainstay of political philosophy. The contours of the type of government a society has are shaped by the system regulating the property rights prevailing in that society. Views of this sort are widespread. They range from Locke to Nozick and encompass pretty much everything else in between. Defenders of this sort of view accord to property rights supreme importance. A state that does not sufficiently respect property rights is likely to be a totalitarian state, and will also be likely to fail to respect rights of other sorts.
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