Man and Matter: How the Former Gains Ownership of the Latter

This study seeks to investigate the nature of ownership of land, and how the right to its control and use can be inferred from self-ownership as a premise. Hence, the question asked is how ownership can be justified considering the nature of man from a natural rights point of view. The starting point for the argument is self-ownership as being, where man is identified as an indivisible entirety with inalienable rights to his self emanating from his complex nature. This identification is the point of departure in examining the relation between man and the world, and the concept of ownership. Man’s right to self implies the right to use externals through choice, to “focus his consciousness” in order to achieve values beneficial to his being. The discussion on ownership, as inferred from self-ownership as being, ends in a discussion of the distinct features of land, and how ownership of such can be obtained. The conclusion is that man as a rights-bearer to self can obtain natural use-rights through possession and constructive use of resources, rights which are valid throughout the value-achieving process
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Stephen Nathanson (2005). John Stuart Mill on the Ownership and Use of Land. Philosophy in the Contemporary World 12 (2):10-16.
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