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Property and Justice$
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J. W. Harris

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199251407

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199251407.001.0001

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Natural Property Rights and the Assault Analogy

Natural Property Rights and the Assault Analogy

(p.213) 12 Natural Property Rights and the Assault Analogy
Property and Justice


Oxford University Press

It was suggested at the beginning of Chapter 11 that natural rights are such rights as to follow from the interaction between the requirements of just treatment and the facts of the world. The third element of the minimalist conception of justice, set out in Chapter 10, is the prohibition of unprovoked invasions of bodily integrity. Assaults on the human being are natural wrongs. Could it be the case that — by virtue of a relationship that has arisen between an individual or a group and some physical or ideational resource — any intermeddling with that resource would, in practice, constitute an assault? It is possible to build, on the prohibition of invasions of bodily integrity to the point at which one has reach a natural property right? This chapter considers this possibility in the context of three kinds of relationship to resources: first occupancy, personhood-constituting, and privacy.

Keywords:   natural rights, resources, property, assault, first occupancy, personhood-constituting, privacy

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