Monday, January 28, 2019

Early 2019 speaking engagements

I recently got back from Blackfriars in Oxford, where I gave talks on classical theism and cooperation with evil.

This Thursday, January 31, I will be giving the 2019 Aquinas Lecture at the University of St. Thomas in Houston.  

On February 11, I will be speaking at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., on the topic of socialism versus the family.

On April 17, I will be speaking at a Thomistic Institute event at Stanford University.

I will be one of the speakers at a workshop on the theme Aquinas on Human Action and Virtue, to be held at Mount Saint Mary’s College in Newburgh, New York, from June 19-23.

Further speaking engagements to be announced.  Links to audio and video of earlier talks can be found at my main website.


  1. Great. Has the audio or video been released somewhere for those first two talks?

  2. Any update as to when Aristotle's Revenge will be released in the US?

    1. The book just rolled off the presses a week or two ago. I got my author's copies just the other day. I believe it is now available through European outlets. It might be a few more weeks before it is available through US outlets,

    2. I pre-ordered mine 3 weeks before it's official release date. I can't believe it's out of stock on the first day. Isn't the point of pre-ordering to clue in the retailers on how many copies they need!

    3. @Aristotle's jedi Jedi is occultism promoted by George Lucas. Avoid.

    4. Is there any interaction with Dr. Nigel Cundy’s work (at Quantum Thomist) in Aristotle’s Revenge? I just got his book “What Is Physics?” It is on my reading list (as is Aristotle’s Revenge). I believe he said he would post a book review of AR in the next few months or so. I would be interested to see your thoughts (and possibly your own book review) on his synthesis of A-T metaphysics and Quantum Field Theory.

    5. @Scott Lynch

      Where did you get a copy of Cundy's work?

    6. I have Cundy's book. Got it on Amazon.

    7. Yes. And his blog is at

    8. Ah, well it just says it's out of print on Amazon now.

    9. They permitted me to purchase it through Routledge, although I don't know if they're going to send it to me.

    10. Will it be in digital and audio?

    11. Cundy's book was recently updated and is currently available at Amazon. The link to the first edition shows out of stock -

  3. I’m in Houston!!! So excited. Will this be any different from the Thomistic Institute podcast lecture on the nature of God?

  4. "On February 11, I will be speaking at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., on the topic of socialism versus the family."

    Outstanding. Heritage will probably be expecting something about how socialist economic policies have an adverse impact on the creation of stable heterosexual free-market dwelling nuclear families. Blah blah blah, the usual conservative boilerplate.

    Make sure that they realize, grasp, face, the fact that this is a feature and benefit, not an unanticipated side effect for committed socialist theorists.

    I know it's a field tangential to your own, but rub their noses in the radical differences in the operating philosophical anthropology baselines, which of course can be traced to metaphysics with teleology, or without: which is one of your areas of concentration.

    "Sock it to em" Ed. LOL

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  6. Ed, in your Scholastic Metaphysics, p. 241, you say that “a substance’s micro-level parts exist in it virtually rather than actually.”

    Is this true? I get that hydrogen exists in water only virtually, but it strikes me as quite a different thing to say that a thing’s parts exist in it only virtually. My cells are parts of my body, actually not merely virtually, right? Likewise the atoms, if atoms exist, are actual parts of water. Of course atomic theory is an unproven hypothesis, but that’s beside the present point.


    1. They are actual parts but virtual substances. So in water, the hydrogen atom actually exists, but it has the substantial form of water molecule. Likewise, the electrons in the hydrogen atoms have the substantial form of water molecule. This is evidenced by the fact that electrons behave in a dramatically different way in a free state versus a bound state (e.g. in a water molecule. Electrons can only absorb quantized energy (e.g. a photon) in a blind state, but can absorb a continuous amount of energy in a free state (e.g. in an electric field). Other comparisons could be made. So while your cells in your body actually exist, they actually exist as parts of you (your substantial form - a unified whole) and virtually exist (that is potentially exist) as an aggregate of cell or molecular substances. This is one reason we have a unified consciousness, but a corpse does not. A corpse has a different substantial form than a living human.

    2. “blind state” should read “bound state”*

    3. Thanks Scott. So if they are actual parts, they're not there only "virtually"? As substances, their presence is virtual, understood, but as parts, surely they are actually present. The qualifier "micro-level" is perhaps where the ambiguity comes in. Was Ed referring only to electrons and that kind of "part"?

    4. Yes. They are “actually” there. They simply do not have the substantial form of “free electron” anymore. They have the substantial form of “part of a hydrogen atom” now.

      The point of the Dr. Feser quote is that the relationship between a substance and its parts is fundamentally different than the relationship between the parts of an aggregate (e.g. a clock). The springs and gears in a clock (qua metal) fundamentally remain what they are. They are not transformed by their “clockiness”. The polymers in your body are transformed by being in your body.

    5. Here is a good article by Dr. Cundy on mechanism vs. holism.

  7. Ed, how would Saint Thomas see the concept of intellectual property? I read a book about the Middle Ages some time ago and people at that time did not seem to have this concept, like, at all. I can't really see how in Thomism you could really have a right to property of something like a information or idea, but conservatives in general seems to support the concept, so i'am kinda curious of your take on that.

    Is intellectual property really property or is just a fiction created by the State?

    Thanks for the good work,

    1. Intellectual property does not treat the idea or information as such as property as this would indeed be impossible. A patent for example gives the patent holder exclusive claims over particular behaviors in the State's jurisdiction, as for example, the exclusive claim to create and sell the patented thing. This type of claim enforced by the State is a kind of property. Other things called "intellectual property" may be immoral and unreal, but some have the character of a security providing the holder with certain enforceable commercial claims.

    2. I understand, but i can't see how the concept of a patent makes sense in Thomism. Thinking about property, i can't see how you can have a natural right to prevent others from say, using a certain music in a video or selling a certain product.

      If i understand correctly, you have a right to property(though not absolute like a libertarian would defend) because you need access to some resources to fulfil your natural capacities that you won't have if everyone could use these resources, they using it would prevent you from using it. But this don't apply if the resource is something like, say, a poem, who can be copied without any harm to the poet or the original poem.

      So, i understand than the State can enforce the use of something like patents if it helps the common good, but it seems to me they are just a modern fiction created to ensure than there can be a market on things than by nature can't be selled like a normal product.

    3. I would probably question your somewhat ambiguous presuppositions about the nature of property. A silent partner in a business really owns property but doesn't "fulfill natural capacities that [he wouldn't] have if everyone could use these resources." He doesn't work those resources and in fact other people use them, but he owns them and derives a gain from his ownership of them.
      Also, there are definitely markets where fictions are sold, Bitcoin is probably the most eminent example. However, patent qua security, that is an entitlement to exclusive commercial activity, is vendible. Disney may give Starbucks exclusive entitlement to sell coffee inside Disneyland and this is something valuable.

    4. I was talking about how(i think) property works on Thomistic Natural Law. I understand how the concept of patents works on a capitalist economy, but what i want to know is if there is in natural law any basis to a right to own patents or if it is just a positive law creation, which seems to me to be the case.

    5. I think the issue is more about scarcity. Normally we have property rights because resources are scarce. I can't fully enjoy the ownership of my house and the land it is on, for example, if anyone else can just make use of it as they please. Because land and houses are scarce and can't be used by an indefinite amount of people without taking away from the use of others, we need property rights. Intellectual property are arguably different. An indefinite amount of people can copy a book or use an invention without it affecting my use of the original book or invention.* Here the state seems to be creating a property right where there is no scarcity. This is the way in which anti-IP people usually argue.

      I am not sure IP is a natural right in Thomism. I'm not an expert, but I'd be surprised if Thomism mandates that there be IP. In fact, seeing the broad category of property rights can be broken down in a myriad of different particular rights, as R. H. Tawney noted, I'd be surprised if Thomism took anything but a very general stance on what rights there should be.

      * Of course, if people can freely copy the boom or invention, I can make less money out of it, but that issues involves the very state created monopoly in question.

    6. @Anonymous
      Certainly patents arise from the positive law but I don't see how that makes them problematic as property. Currency qua currency arises from the positive law but certainly is property.

      @Jeremy Taylor
      The fundamental problem is that the idea / concept / work / design / etc. is not property as such. In fact this is not what intellectual property is in the first place, confusion of pro/anti-IPers notwithstanding. What is property is the exclusive commercial claims to create copies and sell them, namely the patent, not the patented idea.

    7. That is true, but I am not sure it changes the fundamental distinction between IP and property rights. In fact, it seems to underscore the distinction.

    8. @Michael Humpherys

      I not really saying that patents arent' property right now in our current situation. I suppose that the State has the authority to give they to people. The question that i was asking is if patents have any value in natural law or if is only a modern capitalist invention that we have to respect because the State respect it?

      @Jeremy Taylor

      From what i understand, in natural law that is the way that property rights work. Feser did make a article* explaining how they work in Thomism, but i don't know if the natural law necessary implies a economy like the one we have or if something like a non-anarchist Mutualism would be more true to Thomism.

      Feser seems to have no problem with the capitalist economy we have, so i want to know if he thinks it could be defended using natural law on property rights like most libertarians would do or if he thinks that just the State ensures that society works like it does now.

      *Classical Natural Law Theory, Property Rights and Taxation.

    9. @Anonymous
      What do you mean by "value in natural law" and how this is in opposition to it being an invention of a capitalist system?

      @Jeremy Taylor
      "I am not sure it changes the fundamental distinction between IP and property rights. In fact, it seems to underscore the distinction."

      How so? Or what distinction?

    10. I mean that other property rights exist because resources are naturally scarce, whereas this is not the case for IP. I'm not sure it makes much difference whether or not it is the idea or design that is owned or just the rights to legally copy it. The freedom to copy the idea or design doen't take away from the original owner's ability to make use of it, except so far as he can't now profit from a state-created scarcity or monopoly of use.

      On reflection, I am also not sure that it is correct to make the distinction between the original idea and the right to copy it, or rather to consider it particularly meaningful for practical purposes. Obviously, the abstract idea, in some sense can't be owned, being intangible and existing in the minds of individuals. But given the extensive control many states grant to owners of IP over any use of the idea or worm, the difference here between owning the idea or work and the rights to make use of it (or many of them) doesn't seem particularly important.

    11. @Michael Humpherys

      Having value in natural law would mean that it is a right that is granted by our nature, like our right to live or to marriage.

      If a right to patents don't have a natural law basis but is mere positive law creation, them it have no intrinsic value, being only a convencion that could easily be changed by law.

    12. EDIT: Fixed some typos.
      @Jeremy Taylor
      The distinction between owning X and owning certain enforceable entitlements with respect to X makes a lot of practical and theoretical difference. The patent is not impacted by the scarcity argument precisely because of what it is. The idea as such cannot be owned but the entitlements to exclusive commercial activities can.

      My understanding of the natural law argument for private property is that man is competent to possess external things, however this is a general argument rather than particular. I don't have a claim from natural law for a microwave or car, but they do not fail to be property and my ownership of them is certainly grounded in the natural law.
      What do you mean by "intrinsic value" and how is this impossible for creations of positive law? For example, Australia by an act of positive law to regulate fishing created an entitlement to fish in certain areas and allowed this to be traded. This is a creation of positive law with significant value.

    13. Michael, and how does that get around the distinction in question, between property scarce and non-scarce resources? People could have access to use the idea indefinitely without taking away from anyone else's use. This is not the case with other kinds of property. If you are referring to the rights to profit by government induced scarcity, in being granted a monopoly on the commercial use of such an idea, than that is the very property right whose nature is in question.

    14. @Michael Humpherys

      Intrinsic value in this case would be a right that is grounded on nature, not in convencion. For example, thanks to your human nature, you have a intrinsic right to property that, except in some situations, grants to you the right to have exclusive use of some external objects, like your car or microwave.

      Considering this, is clear that you have a right for, say, owning a piece of paper that you used for writing a poem, but i can't see how you can have a intrinsic right to be the only one to sell the information that is on the original paper. You only have this right because of positive law.
      Of course is a valid right, since the State has the power to give it to you, but the right is extrinsic, since it comes from the authority of the State and not from your nature, like your intrinsic right to property.

      My original question was about this, if the whole patents thing has any basis on natural law or not, since people on Saint Thomas time did not seemed to even have this concept.

    15. @Jeremy Taylor
      Go upthread to your scarcity argument and replace house with patent. I can't enjoy the exclusive commercial claim if they are not relatively exclusive. Also I don't accept scarcity as essential to property as even if houses were indefinitely plentiful, I would still have ownership of my house and authority over it to rent it or kick you out among other things. The authority of ownership does make itself obvious and necessary in scarcity, but it is not necessary nor sufficient for nature of ownership.

      There is no "intrinsic right" to own a microwave or car in particular, but property generally and IP is (in some cases) another form of property. The fact that the authorization you own arises from the State seems little different from the authorizations and entitlements that arise from other securities, such as insurance, bonds, stocks, etc.

    16. @Michael Humpherys

      I don't know if property in general includes IP. The first one gives me the right to exclude others from using some things, the second gives me the right to exclude others from selling some information, inventions or ideas. They seems diferent.

      My point here is that the first one is obvious granted by or nature, while the other seems to be just granted by the State because the economy requires it. The first one is a inalienable right,save some exceptions, while the other seems not.

    17. Michael, but that is precisely the artificial scarcity in question. It comes not from the nature of the thing in question, but from a state-created monopoly. This is quite a different kind of scarcity. It is more like saying the East Indian Company's monopoly of trade with India was based on scarcity, because to benefit from said monopoly the state had to keep others out. Such a monopoly is based on scarcity - it relies on others being kept out, but I think it is clearly a different kind of scarcity, an artificial kind, in comparison to the natural scarcity of land and resources. This is why I don't think the distinction between owning an idea and the right to (certain) uses of it is especially pertinent, at least if it disguises the fact the nature of the thing itself (an idea, in distinction to a scarce physical resource) is very relevant to the whether or not there is a real distinction between intellectual property rights and other rights).

      I think to talk of my house is itself conditioned on natural scarcity, albeit of a more complex kind than the mere fact there is not indefinite access to houses in general.

      Also, I think anon's point is based on the idea that there are lots of different kinds of property rights, and different regimes of property possible. For example, we could go back to a regime where there were no IP rights. Or we could follow a Georgist model and abolish private ownership of ground rent. Or we could embrace usufruct property rights, as the mutualists and individualist anarchists suggest, and not allow ownership of real property beyond occupancy and use. And of course, there are other possible regimes and blends of them. Now, some argue for their favoured regime on the basis of natural right. They deduce all or much of the rights we should have from a moral theory. Others are more general, arguing for private property in general and perhaps some basic rights, but leaving the details to positive law. I think what anon is asking is do Thomists treat IP rghts as a natural rights, or are they creatures of positive law, which may be got rid of (ignoring issues of compensation and the like).

    18. @Jeremy Taylor
      My issue with the scarcity argument is that it attempts to show why property in general is necessary, rather than what can be property.
      In any case, a patent is by definition scarce and the artificial/natural distinction appears to be ad hoc and arising with some extrinsic argument against "state-created monopolies."
      In contrast, I would argue that ideas cannot be property whereas exclusive commercial entitlements can. This I would argue from the nature of property with respect to these objects.

    19. I'm not sure what you mean by an extrinsic argument, but surely there's an obvious and relevant difference here between the scarcity the Eastern Indian Company's monopoly of trade with India exhibits and the kind exhibited by land or houses or most other physical things. Of course, a patent requires the scarcity in the sense that it requires the state to restrict certain uses of an idea, but there's a clear distinction between these uses, which can be utilised by an indefinite amount of people without hindering others' usage of the same rights, with the use of naturally scarce resources, like land, that can't be shared out indefinitely diminishing their use value.

      It might be possible to argue for IP on other grounds, but it seems to do so on grounds of scarcity is a hard task. There's a clear difference here with other prpprope rights. Or at least there is such a difference with those rights most universally recognised, we've noted, though, some parallels with certain monopolies, like that the East India company held, but those are more controversial property rights than most.

    20. @Jeremy Taylor
      I suspect that we are talking at different levels, so correct me if I'm wrong. It seems that you are arguing about whether IP should be property whereas I'm considering a prior question as to whether IP can be property.
      In this sense the moral licity of "state-created monopolies" and the East India Trade Company may be relevant. However, from the "can the they be property in the first place" perspective, I have no issue acknowledging that the East India Company owned a monopoly, whether or not it was licit. I'm not prepared to argue that IP is necessary for a well-functioning society, but it does seem to be licit given the nature of other securities and has certain advantages.

    21. I was really arguing whether IP is or isn't legitimate, just noting that arguments against it tend to begin with its difference from other property rights. I am not sure which other property rights are very similar to IP ones in the way in which we have been discussing, except (imperfectly) something like the monopolies mentioned (which most anti-IP people, amongst others, wouldn't count as legitimate).

      It is true there may be certain advantages in having IP rights, but also that tyere may be disadvantages.

    22. I should say that whether IP rights can be legitimate or not really depends one's theory of property. A Mutualist is never going to accept them, for example.

    23. Securities involve entitlements. So, a bond entitles me to certain payments from a company in addition to a claim to recover my principal in the case of default. My lease at a mall or with Disneyland (mentioned upthread) may grant me certain exclusive entitlements to particular commercial behaviors within that jurisdiction. IP qua entitlement to certain exclusivity of commercial behaviors within a jurisdiction appears analogous.

      As another note regarding the "artificial scarcity," the State has authority over the behaviors in the market it "owns" much as Disney does in Disneyland. Licensing is an expression of that authority which creates an "artificial scarcity," since anyone can engage in these behaviors (better or worse).

      Certain contracts, such as insurance, do not involve a natural scarcity. A company can engage in indefinite obligations to cover certain contingencies which is not limited by anything intrinsic to the nature of the contract but extrinsically according to the risk appetite of owners and management. However, the State regulates the insurance industry closely and creates a form of artificial scarcity.

      I fail to see the significant difference between IP and other property. The artificial scarcity appears question begging and implicitly to involve a sort of physicalism with respect to property which doesn't pan out.

    24. Your bringing up of securities doesn't seem to prove your point. All of what you mention seem to involve a claim on scarce resources, such as the the use or enjoyment of land, real property, or money. Also, there is a clear difference between a private contract to have exclusive access to a private shopping centre, and a state monopoly for such. A better example for you might be something like a taxi-cab licence from the state as these are create a property right based on artificial scarcity , especially when these are limited and cost far more than basic safety/background checks would require. However, many of those opposed to IP would probably be opposed to such licences.

      It may be argued that this distinction between property rights in naturally scarce resources and other property rights is far from the only valid means for deciding if a property right. A lot of that depends on one's theory of property rights. But I don't see how you have shown it is not a very important one, generally, in our understanding of the purpose and origin of property. Nor do I see how it begs the question nor what it means to say it is physicalism. The latter seems to be loaded language. The defender of the idea natural scarcity is important to the origin and purpose of property would probably find it unobjectionable to say the physicality, in some sense, of property is important, but that isn't the same as metaphysical materialism, nor is it to say all there is to legitimate property is physical. There can be all sorts of complex divisions of rights on this view, it is just in the end they are dividing up the use or rights to use, in some sense or other, physical things. It would be precisely question begging to deny this because of rights, like IP, that the advocate would deny.

    25. While there is a distinction between the authority of the State and other authorities, it is not a matter of kind. The State is the highest authority in a particular jurisdiction and only in certain respect. It imposes moral obligations on its subjects, but as an owner I impose an obligation on the State to protect my property qua proprietor. Therefore, if state created scarcity is illegitimate so is artificial scarcity created by authorities.

      Further, licensing as such is illegitimate based on the notion of the illegitimacy of artificial scarcity, because of its nature it creates an artificial barrier to entry. Therefore, even a licensing requirement for a doctor to have a medical degree to practice creates artificial scarcity of people practicing medicine and this is far more burdensome than costs associated with driving taxis.

    26. You are, in a sense, correct about the state and private authority. It is more the state tends to have the authority to create artificial scarcities, whereas it tends to be the case that private individuals can't. For example, states can grant monopolies like that the East India company had. Private owners can't do this. They can restrict access to their own property, but only a limited amount of people can enjoy the full use of this property. Even if the private owner restricts commercial use beyond what is feasible for the property, it is still more like someone owning a large house and not using some of the rooms, than a state-created monopoly. But you're correct that it is strictly a difference between state and private ownership.

      Many of those most implacably opposed to IP are not fans of licensing either, such as hardcore classical liberals, left-libertarians, and anarchists. But I don't think one has to do far to see a clear difference here between different kinds of licence and different intentions. In Sydney, at least just before Uber became popular (I don't know about now), taxi licences cost a few hundred thousand Australian dollars, I believe, and were of limited number. These licences could be bought and sold between private buyers. This price was far in access of the few hundred dollars it would take to do some background checks and the like, and was clearly aimed at creating a valuable, scarce property right where naturally none such would exist (and no doubt more government revenue). There seems quite a difference here between simply making any potential cab driver do basic background and cat checks and charging them for the administration involved. It's true that there are some purists who would reject even this degree of licencing, but it seems quite possible to think natural scarcity is very important to property, it's origin and purpose, whilst thinking some basci licencing is legitimate. It would thiugh, I suppose, it all depends on one's exact theory of property and the role of the state.

    27. @Jeremy Taylor
      I would think of it more in terms of jurisdiction and the State is the sovereign of a wider commercial jurisdiction than an individual or small institution. Both can create "artificial scarcity" within the bounds of their authority. The point is that there is no essential difference between the State and Disney granting exclusive commercial entitlements within their respective jurisdictions, or at least some principled difference must be proposed as "artificial scarcity" is insufficient to the task.

      Whatever one's theory of property and the role of the state, we can discuss from mutually accepted propositions. I find it hard to believe any reasonable person would deny the legitimacy of licensing a doctor, but this in fact creates artificial scarcity. This license may not be trade-able, but it represents a state created entitlement to certain commercial activities similar to IP. Unless the theorists propose some sort of principled exception to doctors over taxi drivers or IP, regardless of their theory they are begging the question.

    28. I don't think you mean begging the question. It would be more like special pleading.

      Anyway, I think it is rather simplistic to suggest that because one thinks natural scarcity is very important to the origin, purpose, and legitimacy of property rights, there can never any artificial scarcity created by the state, even when it isn't the aim oer se of the state. It would really depend upon one's theory of property and rights. I think you are neglecting the diversity of approaches to property. There are utilitarian versus deontological or natural rights based accounts (and mixem of these), and in the latter there Lockean, Mutualist, Georgist and many other account. There most certainly are purists who reject even licencing of doctors; for example, look up Kevin Carson, Ivan Illich, and some of those associated with the Mises Institute. But it isn't clear to me why one abandons any concern with natural scarcity as key to legitimate property if one thinks doctors should be licenced, when the licencing is meant to create basci standards and isn't per se aimed at creating artificial scarcity. That seems a false binary choice, between natural scarcity being everything and it being unimportant. Rather, it depends on how one approaches property.

      Similarly, whilst I agree the private from state distinction here is not everything, I think you that natural versus artificial scarcity is more a matter of degree than an absolute distinction. After all, if a single person or a couple own and live in a five bedroom house, we could say that there is a degree of artificial scarcity here, in that their property rights are keeping out others who could use the other bedrooms. But this kind of vagueness in what defines hardly, it seems to me, undermines the general distinction between naturalness and artificialness in scarcity. After all, we constantly have to deal with such vagueness and matters of degree in moral and other issues. It really depends, again, on one's theory of property. There are, again, relative purists, who dislike even many instances of privately caused scarcity. Mutualists, for example, believe in usufruct, or occpancy and use, property rights. They wouldn't demand the occupier (s) of the aforementioned house share it with others, but they deny the legitimacy of most absentee ownership, so that if someone rented out the said house to others, they would lose it. The tendency I was thinking of, tgouth, was that private scarcity is more like the example of the house, whereas at least some state-created scarcity is much more likely to be closer to a monopoly. There is clearly a difference in renting out the shops in a mall one owns, even if one tries to limit certain kinds of business to certain numbers (e.g., not having too many supermarkets), to creating very expensive and limited taxi licences or the kind of monopoly the East India company had. Finally, arguably, IP rights are a strongly artificial kind of property rights, given that it is in the nature of a work or invention that it may be copied indefinitely without any diminuation of others ability to so copy them. There is a lack of natural scarcity here that arguably can't even matched by the taxi-cab licence example or even the East India company's monopoly. At some point there could be just too many cars on the road, that access needs to be rationed. At some point, as hard as it would ever in practice be to reach such a stage, there could be physically too much trade with India and too many traders. No such limits exist on the ability to copy and then use works, ideas, and inventions.

    29. Yes, special pleading is much better, thank you.

      I'm not denying that natural scarcity is important to help us understand the origin and purpose of property, I've questioned it as the basis or standard of legitimate property. Since the State has authority over its own markets, that in itself seems sufficient for the legitimacy as such of granting exclusive entitlements to certain commercial behaviors. All sorts of circumstances and intentions may make it wrong, but the act in itself is legitimate.

      In this sense, we've see a shift in the way that artificial scarcity is considered as it is not artificial scarcity as such that is problematic, but rather the aim of its creation and the degree of scarcity created. At this point, it seems that one must prove IP has the wrong intention or creates the wrong degree of scarcity or too expensive or otherwise circumstantially unjust.

      I think we need to be careful about the comparison, because you seem to continue to return to the idea as such, rather than the commercial behaviors related to that idea which are central. The State may authorize anyone and everyone in its jurisdiction to provide taxi rides, act as doctors, or print book with specific content/build a specific kind of widget/etc. These are all comparable commercial activities. The State has legitimate authority to regulate and restrict the first two. I fail to see how it does not to the last in virtue of natural scarcity.

      Also, while there being many more or less wrong theories on property is perhaps an interesting sociological observation, I'm interested in what is true rather than what is believed. It may be enlightening to discuss: "IP does not admit a usufruct. What does not admit a usufruct is not legitimate property, because..." but not the simple observation mutualists are reductionists.

    30. But now you appear to be asserting a particular theory of orpprope, namely one that gives society, or the state, large control over what are legitimate property rights. Not all property rights theories, including most opposed to IP, accept such a position. These competing perspectives argue that it is natural rights, or something similar, that determine what is and isn't legitimate property. In these perspectives, the state is simply to affirm and protect property rights whose legitimacy comes from another source.* It is just question begging to assert the theory of property you are.

      Again, also, I simply don't accept the hard and fast distinction you are making between objects and derivative rights to them. Your oosiposi at least has to be argued for against those, again like many opposed to IP, who would maintain that the nature of the original ideas, works, inventions, etc., has a lot to do how we should view rights to make certain uses of them.

      * Obviously society always has to decide on some details. For example, mutualists don't believe usufruct rights mean you can lose your house when you are down the shops or on holiday, and they look to the state (or local society - most mutualists are anarchists) to fill in exactly when property is to be considered abandoned. We are obviously dealing, again, with an issue of degrees, but there is still a clear difference between this and thinking it is, or isn't, up to the state to decide if whole classes of property rights are legitimate.

    31. Out of curiosity, what do mutualists make of things that do not admit a usufruct, for example food. For example, one may have a usufruct over food when considered as a reserve of food, but to use food as food is to consume it and therefore to dispose of its being, which is not a use of which a usufruct can exist. Another example, would be the house you occupy but before moving out, you burn it down for heat.

    32. I think Mutualists are mostly interested in usufruct for land, real property, and capital. I am no expert though. Kevin Carson is probably the premier Mutualist theorist around today, and is the stop for those interested. The classic theorists were Proudhon and the American individualist anarchists (though there are slight differences between the former and the latter), such as Benjamin Tucker.

  8. Apologies if this has already been posted and I have missed it, but this talk is now on Soundcloud, Thomistic Institute, "Classical Theism & the Nature of God".

  9. kidna sorta related, but I just tried to buy Aristotle's revenge at amazon here in the UK and its temporarily out of stock - looks like lots of fans her e:)

  10. Hi Ed,

    I agree that some types of socialism can adversely affect family structure but capitalism can harm families just as much.

    If both parents are forced to work because of certain distortions created by capitalism that inherently allow the very rich and powerful to manipulate the system, then that is not good for middle class and poor families. When parents become cogs for the greed of corporate boards and their CEOs, then that is a threat to families. Also, the rampant consumerism which is inherent in capitalism is also corrosive to families. The Heritage Foundation is oblivious to the many harmful affects of capitalism. I am not against capitalism. I think communism is far, far worse in its effects than capitalism. We need the freedom that is inherent in the beginning of a capitalism system but thereafter it converges on an oligarchy unless there is vigilance of morally upright people in speaking out and preventing the manipulations of the market and political leaders that will otherwise occur in capitalism. I assume you will speak about the harms of socialism and I am glad you are doing that. Since you will be to some extent singing to the choir at the Heritage Foundation, please also inform that they need to reflect on the very real harm that unchecked capitalism also has on families, especially since the Heritage Foundation has significant influence in policy making.

  11. One of multiple harmful effects of capitalism on families...indebtedness which is destructive to the soul and the family....(of course not as bad as communism but capitalism without adequate and vigilant checks on its adverse effects is corrosive and helps create depravity in the pornographic industry given permission by poorly regulated capitalism demonstrates.

    "The average American household carries $137,063 in debt, according to the Federal Reserve's latest numbers. Yet the U.S. Census Bureau reports that the median household income was just $59,039 last year, suggesting that many Americans are living beyond their means."

    1. Well, there's debt and there's debt. Does that debt include what people owe on their houses? Their cars? Home improvements? Medical expenses? Student loans? I have a hard time believing the average Ameican household has that much frivolous debt.

  12. Thanks Scott, interesting article.

  13. 'The red is not an exception to the blue' : new extraordinary understanding of Vatican Council II

    We have a dramatic, extraordinary and new understanding of Vatican Council II which was always there before our very eyes but no one noticed it.Or if they did, they kept quiet.
    The 50- year- old stereotypes of Vatican Council II being a revolution etc are over.
    'The red is not an exception to the blue'. This is the new code.It is the hidden clue.
    The old one was 'The red is an exception to the blue'.
    Everything hinges on this.
    The New Theology was based upon the red being a rupture with the orthodox blue.
    We now know that the red passages are hypothetical. Always hypothetical.
    They are only possibilities, theoretical and speculative.
    They do not refer to personally known people in 2018-2019.
    'Zero cases of something cannot be exceptions to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus(EENS)' confirms John Martignoni , the apologist at EWTN.Archbishop Thomas E Gullickson papal nuncio to Switzerland and Liechtenstein and Fr.Stefano Visintin osb, theologian-physicist and rector of the University of St. Anselm, Rome - AGREE WITH HIM.
    The passages in red are 'zero cases'.
    They do not contradict the past exclusive ecclesiology and an ecumenism of return. The Council is no more a rupture with the Syllabus of Errors of Pope Pius IX or the teaching on all needing to be members of the Catholic Church for salvation ( Catechism of Pope Pius X ).
    The red never was an exception to the blue.But this was how the liberals and ecclesiastics interpreted the Council and the conservatives and traditionalists, wrongly followed.
    Now we know that the blue is no more contradicted by red passages in Lumen Gentium 8 as was suggested by Cardinal Luiz Ladaria sj, at the Placquet Deo , Press conference ( March 1, 2018).
    The blue passages and EENS are no more contradicted by the red passages in LG 16 and GS 22 of Vatican Council II. This was a mistake Pope Benedict and Cardinal Ladaria made in two papers of the International Theological Commission, Vatican.They were wrong and Fr. Leonard Feeney of Boston was correct.
    Fr. Leonard Feeney was saying that there are no literal cases of the baptism of desire(LG 14) etc. The red does not refer to literal cases and so could not have been practical exceptions, or even relevant, to EENS.
    This means our entire understanding of Vatican Council II has changed. Move over Bugnini and Bea. The Council has gone back to 'the pre-Vatican Council II times'. The 'Conciliar Church' today is traditional and Feeneyite.This is a whopper for the prudent and politically correct within the Church.
    It is Vatican Council II which is part of the seismic shift and it is not just going back to Tradition and EENS.The Council has changed before our very eyes.
    'The red is not an exception to the blue.' I like that sound.
    'The red is not an exception to the blue'. Mama mia! Everything has changed. This is unbelievable!.
    -Lionel Andrades

    JANUARY 28, 2019
    In Magisterial documents the red is not an exception to the blue, the red does not contradict the blue : with the blue there is a hermeneutic of continuity with Tradition (16th- century extra ecclesium nulla salus, the Syllabus of Errors, ecumenism of return, past exclusivist ecclesiology etc)

    FEBRUARY 4, 2019
    Nei documenti magistrali il rosso non √® un'eccezione al blu, il rosso non contraddice il blu: con il blu c'√® un'ermeneutica di continuit√† con la Tradizione (extra ecclesium nulla salus del 16 ° secolo , Sillabo degli Errori di Pio IX, ecumenismo del ritorno, esclusivista ecclesiologia ecc. )

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