« The Origins of Property: A Parable with Morals | Main | Experimental Philosophy:A Modest Proposal »

January 29, 2012


Nicholas Smyth

Excellent, as always.

"In our story, is Wilt's ownership just? Is Wilt entitled to his property?"

I am inclined to think, in spite of what you claim in the first couple of paragraphs, that the persons in question, at this stage, do *not* have the complex system of concepts, reactive attitudes and values that go along with what we call "morality". I'm inclined to think that the question of Wilt's entitlement is nonsensical; we are dealing with a development that was a historical pre-requisite for the development of morality itself (The Genealogy of Morals is a great source for the idea that moral reactions emerged out of the creditor-debtor relationship, which seems to presuppose the idea of property).

Of course, these kinds of thoughts will not be recieved well by the philosophers you mention here, whose ideological committments tend to blind them to the historical preconditions for their own views.

That said, speculative genealogies can only do so much, but this one does a hell of a lot.

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