Sunday, August 3, 2008

article: The Dvlpmnt of the concept of property in Political philosophy

“The Dvlpmnt of the concept of property in Political philosophy: a study of the background of the const” by Richard Mckeon from ethics 48, 3 1938 297-366

297-debate has tradlly used analysis of social conditions

298-“Since ecoc words r prominent even in the philosophic terminology of the time [18th ce], not only is it possible to claim 4 any philosopher that his doctrines r reflected in the lang of the Const, but any item of information concerning social or ecoc conditions of the time may b presented as indicative of the forces that determined the content of the articles of the const and therefore as relevant to interp of the lang used”

-admits that writers may not use the words the same way as the philosophers who used them before and influenced them—threat of not understanding

2990but looking at the history of poll philosophy reveals the context in which statements were used, so u can glean meaning

-tho even w/in a same culture, ideas change—authors of the us const were resisting the new const (1787-88) b/c it had diff meanings than the poll theory which underlay the rev, the articles of confed, and state consts at the time of indpc

300-hamilton accused the Framers of doing it for selfish motivations, of creating another tyrannical (president) instittn

301-amidst all these words that change meaning, the idea of property is used by everyone and “it has retained, therefore, the semblance of a term of fixed significance and practical application,” and can therefore be used as a reference pt. 4 understanding thot in const

302-tho that world also has multiple definitions—explication of those defs reveals why the debate on const ends up always “on the verge of translation into ecoc terms”

303-eg Locke thot property was accorded to men by nat law, therefore head of house was natural, unlike heads of state—opposed Filmer’s idea that they were the same, both justified by adam’s dominion—comparison is still debated (304)

304-et this debate was also btwn Aristotle (like locke) criticizing plato (filmer)

305—4 arist, a possession is “an instrument for living”’; property “is a number of such instruments”; riches “is a # of household and poll instruments”

-“all these r ‘nat’ but w/ the invention of $ an artificial standard of value is introduced; and wealth is defined…as those things whose value is measured by $. Property, so conceived is…a part of the household, it is not a part of the state, 4 tho the state requires property, the pars of the state r determined by those functs which r indespensible to the end of the state, that is, the best life possible…[lists:}food, arts, (306) arms, revenue, rel, and the determination of public interest and justice. Property has no place, not even in connection w/ food or revenue, in the list of such poll functs; it may, so b sure, become prominent in particular forms of polity: riches…is the ground on which the oligarchial party claims power in a state, and in the Rhetoric riches is seen as the end of the oligarchial state”

306-the legistlature concerns property when the state is not self sufficient, it must regulate human interactions (not biz—sthat’s purview of households) so there is “a situation in which there is a sufficeintcy of property, that all will have a minimum necessary for substinence and a maximum possibility of living well…[and] lack of sufficiency of any essential mats is the cause of the dissolution of the state or of war”

307-arist talks about 2 probs w/ property:

1) Acquisition: 2 kinds (nat and unnat)—only first is the proper funct of the household and limits r set on it b/c “the amount of property needed for the good life is not unlimited; but w/ the invention of $...[locke agreed] that limit is removed and the householder may conceive it his funct to increase his $ w/out limit, intent on living only, not on living well, until all arts and all powers r converted, contrary to nature, into means of getting wealth.”

308 2) use of property: funct of leg state to promote its common use—3 uses: a) “private possession of land, but common use of produce;” b) “common possession of land, but division of produce for private use” or c) “common possession of land and of produce alike”—arist says A is the best

309-in plato, b/c he does not distinguish btwn household and state, there is not such a worked out def of property

310-plato believes excessive acquisition is tempered b/c it is an art, and emn who practice art know what is sufficient, same w/ use, tho it is relatively unimportant in Republic

311-platos understanding is echoed in 18th ce arguments, even if they don’t cite hime—they use arist too, tho mostly change it

314-for Cicero, like plato, the city is natural b/c men, like all animals, reproduce but they also have nat instinct 4 rtl orgztn

315-there is no private property in nature and virtue will hold acquisition in bounds

-and sicne al that is rt is useful, all the cities, laws and customs suppoly everything needed

316-stealing is never rt, no matter the reason

--aug adopted Cicero type idea

317-said possessions r “good”, part of love of god and god keeps things good-men may stray, but god brings it back (like cicerto)

-indv, fam, city, nature—all aspects of peace—which is natural, ordered (evertying in its place)

318-all animals want peace of body (appetites, security)—what separates man is w/ his knowledge he can know and wants higher orders of peace

319-household is the beginning of the city b/c they r all part—so domestic peace is referred to as civic peace—aug called it “house of god”, connected by faith

320-u can have private property, but it’s better to avoid it b/c it tempts sin, besides, since god is all, u really can’t own it

-2 kinds of rts: divine and human made—human rt is what says u own something , but g distributes human rts to kinds (321) and ppl should serve and honor them and they can make good and just laws and property rts, tho those virtures should render property undesireable

-322in the city of god, no one owns anything privately

323—“the influence of the bibile and of the augstinian interp of the doctrine of possession were decisive in w. eurp until the Politics of arist was translated int eh 13th ce” Aug used esp in “dominon (or lordship)”—writers using arist had probs of property “shrink in their scope and in their relevance to morals and politics”, even aqui

324-aqi goes against aug by using stoic and platonic terminology. Aug said that the fam and property were analogous to all human associations. Aqui said that the fam is ‘nat rt”/”justice” b/c man and woman naturally go together, etc., but property is not (325) “nat”—tho common possession is “nat” not b/c nature says so but b/c it is not against it and human agreements (positive rt)

-therefore private property becomes added to nat rt

326-according to duns scouts, aqui’s stages of innocence meant that only in innocence divine law ruled—no lords, all common

-but after the fall this precept was revoked b/c greedy and evil men would take more than their share of common property and this would go against nature and b/c stronger and warlike would deprive others—so positive law makes lordships, but for it to b just, prudence and authority r reqd

-2 kinds of authority: paternal (fam ) and poll (must b agreed upon by the ppl (elected))

327-the ? of papal and imperial power and property aqui agreed w/ agu whos principle that the better should rule the worse and therefore the spiritual should rule the material

329-aqi says in perfect state there is no property, not even common—justified mendicant poverty

330-aqi’s disciple aegidius wrote 2 opposing things: he used aristn literal nat law to defend the state having property—but in antother work he used aug’s body analogy to defend papal property—these 2 stances were thwen used by ea respective group

331-john of paris took mid road, said papal lordship must b sanctioned by secular rulers

332-wil of Ockham said no person really has total dominion but both can use it for whatever works best for common good

338-as more theologians wrote defending evangelical poverty, the papacy began to lose temporal power—“by the 16th c the philosopher and the priest had largely disappeared as serious contestants for the place of the statesman, and the probs of pols were oriented to the consideration of the necessities of life and the powers that do or should control them”

339-in the 16th ce many philosophers argued against plato b/c they said community of possessions would destroy indv welfare and the state

340-in the 16th ce “while effective appeal might still b made in analysis to divine law, the determination of property is frequently by nat law, in which case it is held that the state cannot rightly expropriate the goods of men by immoderate taxation”

-according to Melanchthon, when monks and Anabaptists use analogy for saying house and state r the same, they r wrong

341-and uses idea that common prop isn’t necessary for fallen man—calvin agreed as well as john bodin—said it would destroy a republic

344-what distinguishes 17thc ce (til now ) thot from all previous thot on property is the chnge in focus from a concern w/ the use of property for the common good to a conception of property as the chief or only basis for participation in the stat and a concern w/ the prob in determining the scope of private property”—w/in that , 2 lines of thot: def of property was extended to mean spiritual goods—so participation in govt is dpndt on owning goodness and wisdom (analogy); (345) if nat rts based, property plays no role in forming of state, just defining of nat rts and of rts as members of a state, property is simply rts and duties

345-grotius and locke said men have nat rt to property, esp thru occupation (working the land) b/c “they r the workmanship of” g—and life and liberty wer econsidered property

346-hobbes said no property in state of nature, but laws r instituted to restrict conquest—and not life and liberty

347-harrington and then Neville equate riches w/ power, dominion b/c the more riches u have, the more u feed others (vassals, tennents)

348-therefore poll power is derived from possessions-tho diff levels of power (dominion)

-and Neville said since the engl const holds property valuable, it is the best govt

349-in 18th ce, platos relating the state w/ humans analogy is forgotten and arist is used to refute ideas similar to it

-tho arist saw property as an instrument of action, over time, philosophers saw it as instrument of production

-philosophy was now “almost caricatures of the platonic and aristln doctrines”

350-the amer revaries’ philosophy was embodied by tom paine who wrote that the family and villages r no longer parts of the state, only indvs, bound by property and trade

351-“commn interest regulates their affairs and forms their laws. Formal govt is necessary only to supply what civilization and society cannot accomplish for the common interest and to produce common security”

-says old govt needed war and ntlsm to maintain, this one wants a universal system of commerce and peace

352-“best govt is that which governs least and lowers taxes

-and instead of entirely basing it on nat rt, he points to examples of “primitive” ppl, Indians, and how they operate

353-Paine was like locke, but ben franklin was like hobbes, thot the state should control all property

356-John adams writes that b/c ppl have diff wealth and abilities, their power should b separated (diff arms of govt and chicks) so they don’t becom tyrants, there should b a “balcnce of property”—praises Harrington

-but govt should b mainly to regulate man’s passions

359-john taylor criticized adams for not giving morality enough due in govt’s role

360-adams refutes taylor as “platonic communicsm”—“not really possible

361-the writers of the federalist agreed w/ adams (little govt)—opposed by defendters of the const (aka anti-federalists, supported govt)

363-taylor, unlike paine does not cinsider property to b as broad as including life and security, tho has moral rts

364-after that controversy had subsumed Thomas cooper and others started again comparing the state to a body—and that (365) the same morals apply to both, ie equal distribution

-the history of these ideas “may b read not merely to set forth the curious variety of past doctrines,, which were once held dpndnt only on unaccountable perfversity of man, adapting in turn all possible themes, but to learn the methodological traits of the modes of def and intellectual usage which r so frequently mingled indistinguishably w/ the poll and ecoc aspects of the probs w/ which the pronouncements r concerned”

366-“the history of the later interp of the const is difficult to undersand apart from the peculiarities of the doctrinal analysis which went into the formulation of the const; and, as is so frequently the case in the history of doctrines, men follow w/out being aware of the impulsion, the compelling force of ideas and analyses contained int eh form in which the prob is presented to them”

-it’s why the const didn’t define prop as life and lib and why attackers go those ideas in the 15th and 14th amendments

-so today (1930s) when legal rulings limit police power over property, they r interpreting revary faters in a way that “ they nor their opponents appeared to have realized “ and freedom is again put under the def of property

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