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The Making of Modern Liberalism$
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Alan Ryan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691148403

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691148403.001.0001

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The Romantic Theory of Ownership

The Romantic Theory of Ownership

Chapter:
(p.586) 31 The Romantic Theory of Ownership
Source:
The Making of Modern Liberalism
Author(s):

Alan Ryan

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691148403.003.0032

This chapter examines the characteristic concerns and claims of the so-called “Romantic” theorists of work and ownership, arguing that what they have in common is best highlighted by a contrast with instrumental and utilitarian accounts of these matters. The chapter's main assertion is not that there were particular conclusions about the gains and losses of work, or about the legitimacy of private ownership, to which Romantics came and instrumentalists did not, but that the route by which they got to their conclusions was very different. Utilitarianism does not find the possessory relationship intrinsically interesting, either as a matter of morality or as a matter of social psychology. Here lies the heart of the contrast with Romanticism. The chapter considers Immanuel Kant's views on property rights and compares them with those of G.W.F. Hegel, Karl Marx, and Thomas Carlyle.

Keywords:   work, ownership, private ownership, utilitarianism, Romanticism, Immanuel Kant, property rights, G.W.F. Hegel, Karl Marx, Thomas Carlyle

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