1
   

Is private property possible or just an illusion.

 
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2004 01:47 pm
"Ownership" implies both rights and obligations.
In as much that such "rights" may be revoked by others, and considering that all "existence" is transient to a greater or lesser extent, I agree that "ownership" is a temporary phenomenon.

As for "morality", it is clear that "rights" ascribed to A are "restrictions" with respect to B, and this takes us close to the Marxist dictum "property is theft".
0 Replies
 
Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2004 01:48 pm
I'm immediately reminded of the film, The Red Violin.

How cool, JLN. Do you play it? Do you loan it to the local symphony for certain occasions?

We have a relative who played violin professionally and his tales of musical instruments is fascinating. He mentioned the tale of a string bass that had been owned by a friend of his. (These can also be old, Italian and rare... who knew?) It hadn't been played for years and had been auctioned. Somehow it was loaned back years later (and under what circumstances I can't remember) to that same city orchestra. Apparently the entire string section rejoiced and everyone partied with whoever loaned it and the family of the late player as well as all the orchestra. It was a cause for much fanfare.
0 Replies
 
thethinkfactory
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2004 04:48 pm
Stuh - I agree that philosophy cannot be boiled down to miscommunications.

I don't think that the philsophical question of 'is ownership possible' means that we just haggle over the words and thier is a clear cut answer.

TTF
0 Replies
 
shepaints
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2004 06:24 pm
I have often wondered about "ownership" of
a condominium in the sky....say on the tenth floor.
Since buildings appear to have a shelf life, how
can you own essentially what is borrowed airspace?
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2004 08:35 pm
Shepaints, I would never buy property wherein I must share a wall with others. I would always worry about their leaving the gas on or smoking in bed.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Nov, 2004 08:36 pm
No matter how much I try to remain unattached to things and conditions I realize that to a large extent my property owns me.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Nov, 2004 12:06 am
Well put JLN !

BTW You would have problems in the UK where "detached" property is in the minority.

......and on "ownership" round the world.....

The concept of "air space" is interesting because airlines are charged per mile for overflying a country. A large computer in Brussels works it all out.

Also "land ownership", in England at least ,does not normally include "mining rights", and one wonders how far down it is legal to dig a garden !

In Scotland much of the land "belongs" to the Church which originally levied a "feu duty" or tax from each householder. Atheists and nonconformists get no reduction ! (Steps being taken to abolish it by new Scottish Assembly).

I read some Pacific Island natives have(had) a currency involving the exchange of ownership of large immoveable rocks which formed a feature of the landscape. Makes you think about "gold reserves" doesn't it !
0 Replies
 
val
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Nov, 2004 05:39 am
TFF
There is no total ownership. Your property came to you by transmission from anyone else (buying it, heritating, by donation). All things able to be owned, circulate between successsive owners.
Absolute ownership is impossible because it would always lead to conflicts of rights. Legal rights are always social situations. Absolute ownership is so impossible as absolute freedom.

About your ideas and creations. They dont belong to the company, they belong to you, they are you. Others, like that company, may have the right to use them. But your ideas, creations, are your identity. There is nothing or no one to take tham from you.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Nov, 2004 11:49 am
fresco wrote:
As for "morality", it is clear that "rights" ascribed to A are "restrictions" with respect to B, and this takes us close to the Marxist dictum "property is theft".

Pierre Joseph Proudhon said "property is theft." As far as I know, Marx never said it.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Nov, 2004 12:30 pm
Joe, you are likely to be right !

...but what do you think ?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Nov, 2004 03:54 pm
fresco wrote:
Joe, you are likely to be right !

...but what do you think ?

What do I think about the initial query? I really don't know. I don't even understand the question. The notion that we "borrow" property from our heirs is, as far as I can tell, nothing but a quaint metaphor -- suitable only for political speeches and trust company brochures. Since "borrowing" is antithetical to "owning," there is no point in describing all "property" as "borrowed." If no one owns anything, then there is no such thing as "property." Indeed, if there is no such thing as "owning," it is difficult to understand how there can be such a thing as "borrowing."

Furthermore, suggesting that the state's right of eminent domain calls into question the existence of private ownership is rather absurd. One might just as well say that the right of the state to imprison criminals calls into question the existence of personal freedom. The state can take my property (while paying just compensation) for the greater benefit of society, and the state can imprison me if I commit a crime for the very same reason. I see no practical difference. Yet we can still talk of "freedom" even though there is such as thing as imprisonment. Why, then, can we not talk of "property" when there is such a thing as "eminent domain?"
0 Replies
 
Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Nov, 2004 04:19 pm
You might think it's a quaint metaphor, but I can tell you it is very real, Joe. We have a family-owned property that could not be sold except as the very last resort. The legality of it doesn't matter. It is being held for our heirs and not in a legal trust, though it was held in a trust for me. I recognize that many aren't in that situation, but it doesn't make it any less real.

Also, eminent domain is a taking whether or not someone has done wrong. That the owner is compensated seems to me to be beyond the point and little justification for considering it as anything beyond what it is. Certainly, I do not see it as comparable to staying out of prison, which I believe, would only happen if one were to seriously break the law. Even then, your life is your own and there would be hope of returning to a state of freedom.

I'd also like to point out another aspect of ownership which you've seemingly misplaced... one can certainly "borrow" property from another. It's known as leasing and has many, if not most, of the realities of ownership.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Nov, 2004 11:03 pm
Piffka wrote:
You might think it's a quaint metaphor, but I can tell you it is very real, Joe. We have a family-owned property that could not be sold except as the very last resort. The legality of it doesn't matter. It is being held for our heirs and not in a legal trust, though it was held in a trust for me. I recognize that many aren't in that situation, but it doesn't make it any less real.

It's not that you can't sell your property, it's that you won't. As such, your decision to "hold it for your heirs" is merely a personal choice, not a reflection on the nature of private property.

Piffka wrote:
Also, eminent domain is a taking whether or not someone has done wrong.

No doubt.

Piffka wrote:
That the owner is compensated seems to me to be beyond the point and little justification for considering it as anything beyond what it is.

What?

Piffka wrote:
Certainly, I do not see it as comparable to staying out of prison, which I believe, would only happen if one were to seriously break the law. Even then, your life is your own and there would be hope of returning to a state of freedom.

Eminent domain is justifiable on the grounds that infringing on the owner's property rights, in certain limited cases, serves the greater social good. In the same way, imprisonment is justifiable on the grounds that infringing on the criminal's liberty interests serves the greater social good. Eminent domain no more vitiates the notion of private property than imprisonment vitiates the notion of personal liberty.

Piffka wrote:
I'd also like to point out another aspect of ownership which you've seemingly misplaced... one can certainly "borrow" property from another. It's known as leasing and has many, if not most, of the realities of ownership.

Please explain how someone can "borrow" or "lease" something when no one can "own" anything.

EDIT: cleaned up an awkward sentence.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2004 12:49 am
I thought that eminent domain was raised to demonstrate that ownership of property is not absolute (in most societies). Ownership is an idea, a convention or institutionalized social construct. Fresco mentioned a situation where large immoveable stones operated as symbols of wealth (currency). This occured, I believe, in Micronesia. Large stones were brought to a particular island from long distances in outrigger boats, a dangerous endeavor. Once a boat sunk, but enough people bore witness to the existence of a large stone lost at the bottom of the sea that it was considered the currency of the owner of the expedition that lost the stone. For some time the family of the owner "held" the stone as a symbol of their wealth. They could exchange it for houses and other items of wealth. Some stones were located on the island, leaning against trees or the sides of hills. One man said, as I read, that he bought a large tract of land for X amounts of cash and his stone located at Y location. Everyone knew it was his stone and then knew that it ownership shifted to the man he paid it to for the tract of land. This shows the conventional ideational nature of "money."
This principle can be generalized, I think, to all wealth and property. The wealthiest people in our society seem to not realize that their property is protected by property laws endorsed by the general public and officially enforced by the police. If, hypothetically, the vast majority of people gave up the notion of legitimate property, that everyone could take and use what they were able take by force (until someone took from them), the wealthy would be in grave trouble. They might realize, therefore, that their wealth is subject to the cultural mores of society, that their advantages exist by virtue of an indebtedness to society, that they are, in effect, artificial and not expressions of some law of the jungle in which they have absolute superiority by virtue of a natural situation in which they enjoy a brutish advantage of raw physical strength.
0 Replies
 
thethinkfactory
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2004 09:09 am
JL is right. Joe brings up very good points - but I think they are - like my original point - a bit too extreme.

Owbership is often thought of as control of an object that is permenant - unless the owner decides otherwise. Emminant domain challenges this concept of ownership - which led me to use the word borrowed which brings in a temporary notion of ownership.

Ofcourse you can sell it Joe - but when someone takes it - you seemed to not have owned it in the first place - or else you would still have control.

Now this could turn wround our concept of ownership - but we are back to the beginning - can you own anything.

TTF
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2004 09:18 am
thethinkfactory wrote:
Now this could turn wround our concept of ownership - but we are back to the beginning - can you own anything.

If you can be imprisoned, can you truly be free?
0 Replies
 
thethinkfactory
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2004 09:31 am
That is exactly what I am wondering. I want to expand that concept of imprisonment.

Take my body for instance. Not only can I be imprisoned, I can get desease, be killed (very easliy scarily enough), loose control of my faculties, and eventually I will loose my life.

It seems that when you examine my 'ownership' of my body - the fact that I can be imprisoned or contract any of the other maladies above, challenges my thought that I owned this vessel.

What say you Joe? I like your thoughts above - I enjoy your bluntness and your opposite point of view - my position needs a foil for me to see the truth.

TTF
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2004 10:06 am
thethinkfactory wrote:
That is exactly what I am wondering. I want to expand that concept of imprisonment.

Take my body for instance. Not only can I be imprisoned, I can get desease, be killed (very easliy scarily enough), loose control of my faculties, and eventually I will loose my life.

And you can always leave your umbrella on the train or drop a quarter into a sewer grate. Things happen. How does that change either our sense of personal freedom or private property?

thethinkfactory wrote:
It seems that when you examine my 'ownership' of my body - the fact that I can be imprisoned or contract any of the other maladies above, challenges my thought that I owned this vessel.

Why should it? Why do these limits call into question the limited concept? I can't run at the speed of light; does that mean I can't run at all?

Every thing has limits: if something was unlimited, it would be everything, not something. Why, then, is it surprising to learn that ownership or freedom have limits? If we can't talk of ownership or freedom because they have limits, then we can't talk about anything.

thethinkfactory wrote:
What say you Joe? I like your thoughts above - I enjoy your bluntness and your opposite point of view - my position needs a foil for me to see the truth.

I'll try to do my best.
0 Replies
 
Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2004 12:06 pm
joefromchicago wrote:
It's not that you can't sell your property, it's that you won't. As such, your decision to "hold it for your heirs" is merely a personal choice, not a reflection on the nature of private property.


I say, it's not that the governmental authorities can take your property, but that it is their choice and a reflection of their ultimate ownership.


Quote:
Piffka wrote:
That the owner is compensated seems to me to be beyond the point and little justification for considering it as anything beyond what it is.

What?


That the owner is compensated is little justification for considering it (that is, the taking) as anything but what it is (that is, a taking by the ultimate owner).

Quote:

Eminent domain is justifiable on the grounds that infringing on the owner's property rights, in certain limited cases, serves the greater social good. In the same way, imprisonment is justifiable on the grounds that infringing on the criminal's liberty interests serves the greater social good. Eminent domain no more vitiates the notion of private property than imprisonment vitiates the notion of personal liberty.


Eminent domain still does not compare well to imprisonment.

Similarities:
Government authority against the individual
Motivated by a governmently defined "greater social good"
No returns of property or time spent wallowing in prison


Differences:
No compensation in imprisonment as there is in eminent domain
No recourse in eminent domain as there is in imprisonment
Prison sentences are of limited duration, not so the takings by eminent domain

A better comparison would be eminent domain to capital punishment and then your justification based on compensation makes sense. I am no fan of capital punishment either.

Quote:

Please explain how someone can "borrow" or "lease" something when no one can "own" anything.


Good question... the answer is that borrowing is a personal construct meant to overcome the absurdity of believing that the definition of ownership is anything other than a legal matter; that construct creates one's own universe while recognizing it can be limited at any time by political authority.
0 Replies
 
thethinkfactory
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2004 04:07 pm
joefromchicago wrote:

Every thing has limits: if something was unlimited, it would be everything, not something. Why, then, is it surprising to learn that ownership or freedom have limits? If we can't talk of ownership or freedom because they have limits, then we can't talk about anything.


I understand this - but how far can we take that limitation. If all we can own are our thoughts - then we need to seriously rethink our conception of ownership.

I hear what you are saying that a lack of ownership is not implied because we have diminished ownership - but what is the extent of our ownership?

TTF
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

How can we be sure? - Discussion by Raishu-tensho
Proof of nonexistence of free will - Discussion by litewave
morals and ethics, how are they different? - Question by existential potential
Destroy My Belief System, Please! - Discussion by Thomas
Star Wars in Philosophy. - Discussion by Logicus
Existence of Everything. - Discussion by Logicus
Is it better to be feared or loved? - Discussion by Black King
 
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 08/03/2021 at 07:07:47