Freedom and Property Rights – Avoiding Circularity

Igor Wysocki



This paper argues that libertarians employ the notion of freedom inconsistently. They either resort to a descriptive notion of freedom of some sort in saying that any infringement on the owner’s property rights would diminish her freedom or they use a moralized definition of freedom positing that the exclusion (be it factual or normative) of non-owners from owners’ properties cannot contribute to any unfreedoms on the part of the former since they are merely prevented from doing something they do not have a right to do in the first place. On the positive note, I will suggest a purely descriptive (and therefore neutral) notion of freedom that would allow for making synthetic (as opposed to analytical) statements concerning freedoms (or unfreedoms for that matter) and property rights. Finally, I will argue why in a free society necessarily emergent unfreedoms are relatively unimportant compared to unfreedoms resultant in any other regime.

Słowa kluczowe

freedom; libertarianism; property rights; circularity

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