Journal of Religious Ethics 19 (1):119 - 149 (1991)

This essay examines the justification of property offered by John Locke, considered as the locus classicus of the modern liberal understanding of natural law. I argue that Locke's account of property must be understood in light of the Scholastic discussion of property-in-common, especially in the writings of Thomas Aquinas and Francisco Suarez. Despite very different historical and intellectual settings, I suggest that the Scholastic and Lockean justifications of property share several themes: 1) both discuss the institution of property within the context of foundationally social natural law directives; (2) both emphasize the moral priority of individual access to property-in-common according to need; and (3) both employ the language of justice rather than discretionary charity to describe the social constraints upon private acquisition. I conclude by considering the relevance of this interpretation of Locke to recent debates on distributive justice between Nozick and Rawls, as well as its affinities with the understanding of the social obligations of property in Catholic social teaching.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 60,750
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Locke's State of Nature.Chris Lazarski - 2013 - In Janusz Grygiencl (ed.), .Human Rights and Politics. Erida.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Natural Law, Property, and Redistribution.Paul J. Weithman - 1993 - Journal of Religious Ethics 21 (1):165 - 180.
Justice and the Initial Acquisition of Property.John T. Sanders - 1987 - Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy 10 (2):367-99.
Property and Justice.J. W. Harris - 2002 - Oxford University Press.
Makers' Rights.A. John Simmons - 1998 - The Journal of Ethics 2 (3):197-218.
Nozick and Locke: Filling the Space of Rights.Jeremy Waldron - 2005 - Social Philosophy and Policy 22 (1):81-110.


Added to PP index

Total views
48 ( #216,732 of 2,438,597 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #436,491 of 2,438,597 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes