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  • Cited by 4
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    Varelius, Jukka 2015. Is the Non-rivalrousness of Intellectual Objects a Problem for the Moral Justification of Economic Rights to Intellectual Property?. Science and Engineering Ethics, Vol. 21, Issue. 4, p. 895.

    Nell, Guinevere Liberty 2013. Basic Income and the Free Market.

    Davidson, Marc D. 2012. Distributive justice in the international regulation of global ecosystem services. Global Environmental Change, Vol. 22, Issue. 4, p. 852.

    Breakey, Hugh 2009. WITHOUT CONSENT: PRINCIPLES OF JUSTIFIED ACQUISITION AND DUTY-IMPOSING POWERS. The Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 59, Issue. 237, p. 618.



  • Edward Feser (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 January 2005

Critics of Robert Nozick's libertarian political theory often allege that the theory in general and its account of property rights in particular lack sufficient foundations. A key difficulty is thought to lie in his account of how portions of the world which no one yet owns can justly come to be initially acquired. But the difficulty is illusory, because (contrary to what both Nozick and his critics assume) the concept of justice does not meaningfully apply to initial acquisition in the first place. Moreover, the principle of self-ownership provides a solid foundation for Nozick's libertarianism, and when seen in the light of that principle and its full implications, the standard purported examples of injustices in acquisition are revealed to be nothing of the kind.

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The original draft of this paper was written in the summer of 2002 while I was a Visiting Scholar at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center, Bowling Green State University. I thank the directors of the Center, Fred D. Miller, Jr., Ellen Frankel Paul, and Jeffrey Paul, for hosting me. I also thank colloquium audience members at Bowling Green State University for comments on that draft.
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Social Philosophy and Policy
  • ISSN: 0265-0525
  • EISSN: 1471-6437
  • URL: /core/journals/social-philosophy-and-policy
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