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Fall 2015
ISSN 0890-913X
Volume 30, Number 3

Argumentation Ethics and the Question of Self-Ownership

Andrew T. Young, West Virginia University
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/index.php?action=ajax&rs=GDMgetPage&rsargs[]=2015 Journal of Private Enterprise vol 30 no 3 parte4.pdf&rsargs[]=0
TheJournalofPrivateEnterprise30(3),2015,7988ArgumentationEthicsandtheQuestionofSelf-Ownership*AndrewT.YoungWestVirginiaUniversity______________________________________________________AbstractTheanarcho-capitalistphilosopher,Hans-HermannHoppe(1993;2004),claimsthatself-ownershipistheonlyethicalsolutiontotheproblemofsocialorder.Heclaimsthatanydenialofself-ownershiprepresentsaperformativecontradiction:thatactivelyarguingagainstself-ownershippresupposesonesself-ownership.IexamineHoppesethicsandarguethat,withinthatframework,self-ownershipisa(notthe)permissibleethic.Therearestrongempiricalandtheoreticalcasestobemadeforlibertarianism.Catchingnonlibertariansinperformativecontradictions(gotcha!)isnotoneofthem.__________________________________________________________JELCodes:P10,D63Keywords:ethics,privateproperty,self-ownership,categoricalimperatives,universalistcritique,argumentation,rationality,libertarianismI.IntroductionDohumanshaverights?Ifso,why?Somearguethatindividualrightsareethicallypriortotheconsequencesthatfollowfromthem.AynRandandMurrayRothbardprovideargumentsalongtheselines.Thisperspectiveisalso,broadly,thatofnaturalrightstheoristssuchasJohnLocke.Forotherlibertarians,theethicalproofoftherightsbasedpuddingisintheeating.EconomistssuchasLudwigvonMisesandFriedrichHayekadvocatetheprovisionofindividualrightsbecausetheyleadtoamoreprosperoussociety.Individualrightsinparticular,well-definedandenforcedrightstoonespersonandpropertyfacilitatesocialcooperation.Theyareethicallydesirable*IamingreatdebttoFrankvanDunforhisextensivecommentsonthispaper.IalsothankWalterBlockandStephanKinsellaforcommentsonapreviousdraft.IhavebenefitedfrommanydiscussionsanddebateswithparticipantsattheLibertarianForum(http://groups.google.com/group/LibertarianForum),especiallyJuanFernandoCarpio,MaxChiz,PaulEdwards,andBardPotts.IalsothankparticipantsattheMarch2006AustrianScholarsConferenceattheLudwigvonMisesInstituteforcommentsonanearlydraft.79
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