Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Francis J. Collingwood

Second Advisor

Howard P. Kainz

Third Advisor

Michael G. Vater

Fourth Advisor

Joseph J. O'Mally


This study represents an effort to determine what my own beliefs are regarding private property. I have used Hegel as a foil in this enterprise, and, in the end, have concluded that I am largely in agreement with him--or at least am not quite sure where I would disagree, which is not at all the same thing. The effort is, in short, an initial one; what I am certain of is that the issue is far more complex than I at first thought.

Clearly, most of our problems with distributive justice revolve around property. Of that there cannot be the slightest doubt. Nor is it to be denied that justice is an exceedingly complicated matter, in and of itself far more important than simply the 'concept of property.' But I have come to see, however dimly, that the implications this concept has, or can have, for a just ordering of society are much vaster than expected. Some were to a degree anticipated, well before I ever committed pen to paper, and are treated here in some detail (e.g. in the relationship of property to freedom); others were only discovered during the actual writing, and thus are alluded to relatively briefly (e.g. the influence a theory of property must have on one's view of the state). It appears to me now too that the ramifications of property are a more significant part of the concept's meaning than even the actual details themselves with which the concept is specified. For this reason, and because a full examination of the consequences of Hegel's theory of property is not provided in the pages that follow, this essay can only be regarded as a beginning. I am satisfied with what I have done, but I have only scratched the surface.



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