Cognition 124 (2):201-208 (2012)

Ori Friedman
University of Waterloo
How is ownership established over non-owned things? We suggest that people may view ownership as a kind of credit given to agents responsible for making possession of a non-owned object possible. On this view, judgments about the establishment of ownership depend on attributions of responsibility. We report three experiments showing that people’s judgments about the establishment of ownership are influenced by an agent’s intent and control in bringing about an outcome, factors that also affect attributions of responsibility. These findings demonstrate that people do not just consider who was first to possess an object in judging who owns it, and are broadly consistent with the view that ownership is acquired through labor. The findings also suggest that rather than exclusively being the product of social conventions, judgments about the establishment of ownership over non-owned things also depend on the psychological processes underlying the attribution of responsibility.
Keywords ownership  responsibility
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1016/j.cognition.2012.04.006
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: 63,319
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

Leviathan.Thomas Hobbes - 1651 - Harmondsworth, Penguin.

View all 8 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Ownership, Agency, and Defeat.Daniel S. Breyer - 2013 - Acta Analytica 28 (2):253-256.
Responsibility and Obligation: Some Kantian Directions.Suzanne M. Uniacke - 2005 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 13 (4):461 – 475.


Added to PP index

Total views
13 ( #744,089 of 2,448,751 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #447,034 of 2,448,751 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes