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  • ISBN: 9780226702278
  • ISBN10: 0226702278

Reinterpreting Property

by Margaret Jane Radin

  • List Price: $68.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
  • Publish date: 02/01/1994
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The ramifications of the legal meanings of property affect our everyday life and most basic rights. Conservative thinkers such as Richard Epstein and others have argued for a purely economic and individualistic understanding of property, calling into question, for example, the validity of antidiscrimination laws. The work of Margaret Jane Radin, centering on the relation of property to one's personhood, has emerged as a powerful alternative for those dissatisfied with such approaches. Radin's liberal personality theory of property is based upon the idea that people possess certain objects that are almost a part of themselves in a constitutive sense - a home or a wedding ring for example - while other objects have no such meaning and are readily replaceable. In several now classic essays, she offers a compelling argument that the law should take into account the nonmonetary personal values attached to property. Indeed, the more personal a property right is, the more weight the law should give to it. Professor Radin shows how this perspective often has been implicit in the connections that courts and commentators have found between property and privacy or between property and liberty. Going beyond pure theory, she applies her ideas to practical problems by examining residential rent control and other aspects of the landlord-tenant relationship, and the controversial issue of government's "taking" of private property. Her analyses reflect a philosophical pragmatism which focuses on the situated, and often second-best, working out of liberal ideological commitments in actual practice. In her concluding essay Radin explores how the meaning we attach to property is profoundly shaped by thediscourse in which we conceive of it. Responding to the law-and-economics analysis of rape, she considers how the rhetoric of cost-benefit analysis trivializes and degrades women's interest in bodily integrity, even as it purports to protect it. Her critique returns the reader to one of the volume's central issues: Are some things so personal that they should not really be considered property at all? Reinterpreting Property makes a major contribution toward redefining and humanizing the way our society conceives of property and, ultimately, itself.
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