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Rescuing Self-Ownership: Tackling the Pollution Problem.

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nicola Mulkeen


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Two powerful arguments have been raised against the notion of self-ownership. One is that a robust right of self-ownership makes too many things impermissible. In particular, it is argued that the concept yields deeply counter-intuitive results when we consider trivial infringements such as very mild pollution or trivial risks such as having planes fly overhead. The other is that if we are to advance a plausible theory of self-ownership, then libertarians must make rights infringements fungible for social good. But avoiding this weighing and compromising is seen by many libertarians as a key attraction of their view. If these arguments are correct, then it seems that any plausible libertarianism, if we can still call it that, will be weak indeed. In this paper, I argue that both of these claims are false and in doing so I seek to rescue self-ownership from these objections.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mulkeen N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy

Year: 2019

Volume: 22

Issue: 6

Pages: 660-680

Print publication date: 25/12/2019

Acceptance date: 18/01/2017

ISSN (print): 1369-8230

ISSN (electronic): 1743-8772

Publisher: Taylor & Francis


DOI: 10.1080/13698230.2017.1410683


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