This paper critiques Locke’s account of private property. After sketching its basic principles as well as how contemporary Lockeans have developed them, I argue that this account doesn’t and cannot work philosophically. The main problem is that the account requires the determination of objective value of resources in historical time, but this doesn’t exist. I conclude that the ultimate philosophical failure of this tremendously influential kind of account does not entail that it is valueless. Rather, the suggestion is that understanding and overcoming its problems promises one way to overcome more general problems of systemic injustice regarding private property and the environment in our modern world.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Lockean Mind
EditorsWeinberg Shelley, Jessica Gordon-Roth
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781315099675
ISBN (Print)9781138296909
StatePublished - 2021


  • Locke
  • private property


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