Philosopy of Property as Physical

work in progress

Many notable political philosophers have attempted, and failed, to solve the problem of initial appropriation and ownership of physical objects.

note: For the purposes of brevity, I will not examine the flaws of each philosophy in detail, but rather examine broader patterns.

The Pattern

The philosopher often recognizes subconsciously or based on a large collection of observations and experiences that ethic-X is desirable and beneficial to oneself and others. The ethic itself may be useful, practical, and consistent by itself without any further explanation or justification. One doesn't need a comprehensive understanding of the physics of gravity to understand a rock rolling downhill.

The philosopher will typically not be satisfied with this, and as such attempt to explain, prove, or rationalize ethic-X on some basis. In context of this discussion, the most common pattern is to rationalize ethic-X on the basis of property-system-Y, with property-Y rationalized on basis-Z1. Rationalization is highly susceptible to error because much of logic is not bi-directional (forward & backward).2

The intent of explaining this is to allow the reader to recognize these patterns and flaws. Further, the reader should understand that a flawed basis doesn't immediately undermine an ethic. Even if little demons aren't pushing rocks downhill, the understanding of rocks rolling downhill is still useful.

The Problem

Most philosophies surrounding the ownership or management of physical objects (especially land) correctly understand the necessity of systems to manage use or priority over physical matter. From here, philosophies diverge into a variety of assertions of community or individual ownership on some other basis.3

Geo-libertarianism perhaps comes closest by openly recognizing that man does not produce matter, however diverges into a community-ownership and taxation scheme which does not logically follow.

The Basics:


  • Ownership is derived from production.
  • Man does not produce physical matter.

This article recognizes the philosophical connection between production and ownership, but further proposes that physical matter itself is not owned.

Dissecting each proposed ethic or property system individually would be far too time-consuming, and a distraction

Inspired by:

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