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A Theory of Property


  • 2 b/w illus. 2 tables
  • Page extent: 504 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.73 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 346.04 342.64
  • Dewey version: 20
  • LC Classification: K720 .M84 1990
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Property
    • Right of property
    • Historical fiction, American--History and criticism
    • Mohegan Indians in literature

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521378864 | ISBN-10: 0521378869)

  • There was also a Hardback of this title but it is no longer available
  • Published January 1990

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$79.99 (P)

This book represents a major new statement on the issue of property rights. It argues for the justification of some rights of private property while showing why unequal distributions of private property are indefensible.


1. Property and justification; Part I. Property Rights and Personal Rights: 2. Understanding property; 3. Persons and their bodies; 4. Body rights and the constitution; Part II. From Individuals to Social Context: 5. Incorporation and projection; 6. Control, privacy and individuality; 7. Property and moral character; 8. Alienation and society; Part III. Justification and Distributive Equity: 9. Utility and efficiency; 10. Justice and equality; 11. Labor and desert; 12. Conflict and resolution; Part IV. Applications: 13. Business corporations; 14. Gratuitous transfers; 15. A moral and political theory of takings; 16. Takings and the constitution; Table of cases; Index of names; Index of subjects.


"Stephen Munzer has achieved something I had thought impossible, an encyclopedic treatment of the theory of property rights that does justice to almost all the conceptual, legal, political, and social issues at stake...A Theory of Property will be of the greatest interest and value to philosophers, lawyers, political theorists, and economists alike. Its even handed and scrupulous treatment of competing conceptions of the nature and justification of property rights will make the book useful and accessible to readers of all political and intellectual persuasions. It is an object lesson in how to practise intellectual and ethical pluralism without the least sacrifice of rigour and lucidity." Alan Ryan, Princeton University

"Steeped in the traditions of both Anglo-American and Continental philosophy and armed with the knowledge of a property law expert, Munzer moves easily between discussions of thinkers such as Rawls, Marx, and Hegel and concrete discussions of property law roaming over everything from gifts to zoning; all this, with a passion for clarity and a compelling dialogue about property must be responsive to its psychological, cultural, and normative dimensions." Steven Shiffrin, Cornell University

"...what is most impressive about this book is the way he deals with...the discussion of justificatory argument. Recent books on property have either had to content themselves with a historical account of the main positions, or they have had to focus on one particular type of justification. Munzer's book, by contrast, does it all....These chapters on justification are then followed by four on applications which combine Munzer's skills as jurist and philosopher; there are chapters on corporations and business, taxes and transfers, and a couple on takings and constitutional protections. Though all of this makes for a long read, the book is clearly written and well organized. In its sheer scope and in the author's ability to analyze and evaluate the most intricate lines of argument, it is going to be a godsend for those of us who teach and write about property issues in law, ethics, and political theory...." Jeremy Waldron, Ethics

"...A Theory of Property should be considered both by philosophers and economists as a remarkably useful and comprehensive discussion of the question of property." Maurice Lagueux, Economics and Philosophy

"It offers a massive yet easily digestible helping of analyses of conceptual and empirical issues that interweave concerns about property. Munzer, an academic lawyer, displays easy facility with philosophical and economic discussions as well as legal concerns. As noted previously, his expositions and critiques are admirably clear and incisive, and Theory of Property's discussions are uniformly fair-minded. I am unaware of any other single work that sheds so much light on so many areas of the theory of property....Theory of Property is an invaluable point of departure for philosophers, lawyers, and social scientists who wish to contribute to the normative theory of property." Loren E. Lomasky, The Review of Politics

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