Degree Name

Master of Arts (Hons.)


Department of Philosophy


I had intended to explore the traditional philosophical problem of property, that is, to analyse and evaluate various justifications for the right to private property, which have ranged through the utilitarian, to do with efficient use of resources; the psychological, such as the supposed human need for unique external attachments; the religious, including Old Testament and other supposed scriptual mandates for private property; and the most famous of all, namely, that associated with Locke, which itself includes elements of utilitarian, religious, psychological and even, arguably, independent and additional moral desert justifications. What all these purported justifications have in common is that they assert our right to private property is ultimately grounded in something natural, in a broad sense of the term; in other words, that our right to private property (though not all would be comfortable with the language of rights) has a basis which is "pre-legal".