Self-Ownership and the Limits of Libertarianism

Social Theory and Practice 31 (4):465-482 (2005)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
In the longstanding debate between liberals and libertarians over the morality of redistributive labor taxation, liberals such as John Rawls and Ronald Dworkin have consistently taken the position that such taxation is perfectly compatible with individual liberty, whereas libertarians such as Robert Nozick and Murray Rothbard have adopted the (very) contrary position that such taxation is tantamount to slavery. In this paper, I argue that the debate over redistributive labor taxation can be usefully reconstituted as a debate over the incidents (or components) of self-ownership, with liberals arguing for a narrow definition of the concept and libertarians arguing for a broad one. By using what Alan Ryan has called the “language of proprietorship,” I pinpoint precisely the source of the disagreement between liberals and libertarians and assess the relative strengths of their arguments. I also show that the respective definitions of self-ownership used by liberals and libertarians are deeply problematic—though for strikingly different reasons.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
TAYSAT-4
Revision history
Archival date: 2015-11-21
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Added to PP index
2009-07-29

Total views
2,020 ( #591 of 39,912 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
219 ( #1,537 of 39,912 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.