Private Property, Land and Natural Resources

Private Property, Land and Natural Resources

Justification and Contestation

Despite the burgeoning literature on territorial rights, the specific question of how to morally justify the right of states to own (and therefore, use and control) land and renewable and non-renewable resources has been relatively unattended by political philosophers. Advocates of the current system of territorial states, on the one hand, have tended to subsume it under the question of the moral legitimacy of the states’ right of jurisdiction. Cosmopolitans and left-libertarians, on the other hand, have suggested that a global redistribution of the revenues obtained by the use of land and natural resources is morally demanded, but without necessarily questioning the role of the states as executors of this redistribution – for example, through different mechanisms of global taxation. At the same time, given the recent financial crisis, the widening of inequalities both nationally and worldwide, and the resulting crisis of capitalism, there is a renewed interest in the idea, necessity and consequences of the institution of property as such.

This workshop aims both to investigate the idea of property broadly understood, and to examine more specifically the moral justification of states to own (and therefore, control and use) the land and natural resources in their territories. Contributions are welcome from the fields of political theory/philosophy, normative and applied ethics and history of philosophy.

Possible topics for the workshop include, but are not limited to:

-The various possible justifications of private/public property

-The role that private/public property plays or played in justifying the state, war, globalisation and colonisation

-Alternatives to private/public property

-Justifying the state’s control over land and natural resources

-Functionalist approaches to the right to control and use land and natural resources

-”Attachment” approaches to the right to control and use land and natural resources

-Is the right to control land and natural resources derived from the right of jurisdiction?

-Animal territories, human territories

A workshop of four sessions (of three papers each) is planned. If you would like to present a fully developed paper or work-in-progress at this workshop, please send your abstract (300 words max) to both convenors June 1st 2013.

Authors of the accepted abstracts will be required to send a full length version of their papers to the other speakers a month before the workshop.

Panel Convenors:

Kerstin Budde (Dresden)


Alejandra Mancilla (Oslo)



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