collection Fondements de la politique, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris
This book is a shortened and reviewed version of my PhD. It provides a theory of property. Nowadays the 19th Century dogmatic consensus defining property as the absolute right of a person on a material thing, is over ; the question of the foundations and limits of property cannot be posed until we know what is property. Historical enquiry shows that legal thought is the very place of production of modern conceptualizations of property. These are never given in their proper conceptual consistence, because they are embedded in the discourse of legal science, a discourse submitted to the good functioning of the legal system actualy existing, good functioning which is always in fact their finality. In this book, I tried to resituate their consistence, first by disconstructing analytically the normative settings proposed, and then by showing the principle of their internal logic through a philosophical discourse as such, i.e. submitted to the unique principle of the free use of reason. By doing so, I pointed out three modes of conceptualization of property which can be called maîtrise souveraine (sovereign mastership : absolute right, i.e. real, sovereign, perpetual, and exclusive right of an active and free subject upon a material or reified thing) ; the appartenance patrimoniale (patrimonial belonging : original relation of identity between an owner and his patrimony) ; and the rÈservation de jouissance (allocation of exclusive use : temporary privilege bringing into effect the private allocation of some uses). So it appeared that governing things, managing patrimonies and enjoying the utilities one works are the three figures of the modern owner’s empire in Western Europe.
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