Property is a legal and social institution governing the use of most things and the allocation of some items of social welfare. As an institution, property is a complex organizing idea. Despite its complexity, property, as an organizing idea, is now very old and is now used worldwide. The oldest written records atttest to it. Few primitive peoples, whose societies have been researched by anthropologists, have turned out to lack any conception of it. In the modern
world, any normal person will have heard of it, from childhood onwards. In the modern world, the institution of property is everywhere embodied in law. That is to say, the various organs of government deploy it, officially as part of the mechanism for controlling the use of things and as part of the
mechanism for supervising or directing the allocation of wealth. This work examines the legal and philosophical underpinnings of the concept of property and offers a new alaytical framework for understanding property and justices.
Bridging the gulf between juristic writing on property and speculations about it appearing in the tradition of western political philosophy, Jim Harris has built from entirely new foundations an analytical framework for understanding the nature of property and its connection with justice. Dr Harris' achievement is a monumental one marrying the subtlety of contemporary political philosophy with the fine detail of technical legislation and difficult litigation in English property law. The result
greatly improves our understanding of the philosophical dimension of property and at the same time allows us to stand back from the detail and see the patterns which emerge.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 414
Weight: 830 g
Dimensions: 243 x 163 x 29 mm
the book gets full marks for opening up discussions of several crucial features of property institutions, and for challenging received views on such topics as ownership of one's body and the status of rights to property. All in all, this is a book students of political philosophy should read, and it makes a welcome addition to the body of good work that has been produced on property in the past decade. Indeed, it is probably the best book on property we now
have. * David Crossley Dialogue *
The primary audience for this book will be philosophers of law, who will find the philosophical analysis and arguments about property as it features in Anglo-American law very enlightening. * Peter Vallentyne, Virginia Commonwealth University, Mind, no 108, no 431, July 1999 *