Hegel on Private Property: A Contextual Reading

Southern Journal of Philosophy 55 (3):263-284 (2017)

Authors
Samuel Duncan
Tidewater Community College
Abstract
Hegel is often read as defending private property and property rights on the basis of the so-called “developmental thesis,” which holds that the institution of private property is a necessary condition for individuals to develop the basic capabilities required for free choice. In this paper, I challenge the developmental thesis, and present my own interpretation of Hegel's justification of private property and theory of property rights. Reconstructing Hegel's theory requires that we read the Philosophy of Right as a whole and consider the role of property within the context of the political system that Hegel sketches there, rather than merely looking at the Property subsection of the work in isolation, as works that argue for the developmental thesis tend to do.
Keywords Hegel  private property
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DOI 10.1111/sjp.12238
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