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  • Print publication year: 2021
  • Online publication date: March 2021

5 - Property’s Relational Justice


Liberal property, I argued in Chapter 3, relies on its contribution to owners’ self-determination, which others are obligated to respect. The justification of authorizing owners’ private authority and its coercive enforcement by the state is premised on people’s interpersonal obligation of reciprocal respect for self-determination, making property’s legitimacy contingent on its compliance with this fundamentally liberal understanding of just relationships. Reciprocal respect for self-determination is thus not only a potential external constraint on the liberal conception of property but inherent in its raison d’être.

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