Political Philosophy - Notes on Justice

Locke (and Nozick) articulate a ‘lockeian’ theory:

People are owners of themselves and have various ‘negative rights’, e.g. right not to be harmed, etc Locke ‘state of nature’.

The Holfeldian distinctions – categories of rights: - Liberties (privileges). They have no duty to refrain from something, e.g. liberty to compete. - Claims. Rights that impose co-relative duties on others. E.g. Rights over our bodies imposes duty on others not to punch it. - Powers. To do with ‘rights over rights’/second order rights. Give people capacity to alter various first order rights. - Immunities. Flipside of powers. Right to not be tortured etc.

Further right-distinctions:

- Natural rights/Human Rights/ Positive Rights. Natural rights are typically claim rights people have independently of any institutional arrangement. E.g. Right not to be tortured (arguably), that is a natural right and also a human right. Positive rights as created by the law, ‘you have a right to do… whatever’. Some people think talking about metaphysical rights as if they exist in nature is nonsense, but they are just an expression of morals… - Positive and negative rights. Rights not to be harmed (in various ways) = negative rights. Negative rights impose duties on other people not to harm. Believers is Positive rights may believe they have a right to be fed, housed, employed etc.

Self-Ownership (Nozick) A person enjoys (by nature) those rights over themselves and their body that a slave-owner would enjoy over a chattel slave. Right of self-ownership excludes that of other persons and imposes negative duties on them.

Some issues: - Can/do people really own themselves? Are persons ownable? Kant denies this. But Nozick says self-ownership leads to Kantian ideas that people are ends in themselves. - Can self-owners alienate themselves (sell themselves into slavery?) - Absence of positive rights? (Positive rights entail a form of slavery?) Nozick says positive rights are a form of slavery.

Self ownership doesn’t get you very far, you need to make use of the earth to survive.

Property and the proviso:

Acquisition subject to a proviso - No labour-mixing. Work with the earth to mix yourself with it to make it youself… ‘metaphysically weird’. - Limit on acquisition, you must leave enough and as good for others. Easy to satisfy this no-harm principle. (this is all without a state/authority). - Justice becomes purely a matter of procedure. We are self-owners, we own stuff, who gets to own what – the pattern of acquisition and transfer is a matte of procedure as long as it leaves people no worse on that they would have been if there had been no process of privatization at all.

The Wilt Chamberlain example: Wilt Chamberlain is a basketball player. If we all started matierially equal but went to a basketball game at the end of the season Wilt would be richer and we would all be poorer. There liberty upsets patterns.

Rousseau’s complaint: The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground and claimed it and others believe him has founded society, the earth is shared… – LOOK UP QUOTE (missed it)

Three problems with natural property rights: 1. Unilateralism: On what authority does one person get to impose a duty on another person? 2. Mutual assurance – in the absence of credible enforcement mechanisms its irrational (says kant) to have respect for someone elses property rights. Property rights in a state of nature can only be provisional (says kant). 3. Indeterminacy – - Honore’s 11 incidents (see sheet) - The ground below - The air above - Term issues. How long does the property life last? For one growing season? Etc - Does it give you the right to exclude people as long as they don’t harm it? Or from tradition on the way to a hunt? - Bequest. Property owner has right to transfer/give/sell or bequeath (pass on when dead) property to someone. Requires state or some institution to carry it out.

It appears there must be constitutional components to property.

Political Philosophy

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