I discuss J. G. Fichte’s theory of property and its implications in relation to the claim made by C. B. Macpherson that, by broadening the meaning of the term ‘property’, it becomes possible to reconcile two principles of liberal democratic theory that seem to be at odds with each other: the right to property, understood as the right to exclude others from the use or benefit of something, and the right to use and develop one’s capacities. I argue that Fichte’s broad conception of property can be viewed as an example of how this might be done. I also show, however, that Fichte demonstrates that a political reconciliation of these rights is demanded by the conceptual reconciliation of them, and that such political reconciliation may demand placing considerable limitations, in the form of state regulation and the redistribution of resources, on human freedom
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DOI 10.1177/1474885109355893
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