1st Edition

Property and Justice
A Liberal Theory of Natural Rights

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 30, 2021
ISBN 9780367275167
March 30, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
208 Pages

USD $160.00

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Book Description

This book gives an account of a full spectrum of property rights and their relationship to individual liberty. It shows that a purely deontological approach to justice can deal with the most complex questions regarding the property system. Moreover, the author considers the economic, ecological, and technological complexities of our-real world property systems. The result is a more conceptually sound account of natural rights and property rights.

If we think that liberty should be at the centre of justice, what does that mean for the property system? Economists and lawyers widely agree that a property system must be composed of many different types of property: the kind of private ownership one has over one’s person and immediate possessions, as well as the kinds of common ownership we each have in our local streets, as well as many more. However, theories of property and justice have not given anything approaching an adequate account of the relationship between liberty and any other form of property other than private ownership. It is often thought that a basic commitment to liberty cannot really tell us how to arrange the major complexities of the property system that diverge from simple private ownership.

Property and Justice demonstrates how philosophical rigour coupled with interdisciplinary engagement enables us think clearly about how to deal with real world problems. It will be of interest to political philosophers, political theorists, and legal theorists working on property rights and justice.

Table of Contents


1. The Form of Justice

2. The Substance of Justice

3. Original Acquisition

4. The Commons

5. Limits to Appropriation

6. Against the Proviso

7. Intentions and Conventions

Conclusion: Natural Rights and Liberal Politics

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Billy Christmas is a Lecturer in Political Theory at King’s College London in the Department of Political Economy, where he is also the PPE Programme Director. As a philosopher his research interests lie in rights, property, and political authority. He has previously published articles in journals such as The Journal of Politics, Economics and Philosophy, and The Philosophical Quarterly


"Property is arguably the foundational issue in legal and political philosophy. Billy Christmas insightfully illuminates this foundational issue by elaborating a radical liberal—libertarian—theory of property. This provocative book will surely spur controversy and deepen understanding by showing how a libertarian account of property rights can address the perennial concerns of libertarianism’s critics while grounding robust safeguards for autonomy and flourishing."Gary Chartier, La Sierra University, USA

"This book is the first serious attempt to combine a right-libertarian theory of individual private property with a solid theory of other forms of property, such as collective, public, and common property. It makes for a much more plausible and humane theory of property."Karl Widerquist, Georgetown University-Qatar