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Research Articles
Published: 2020-07-16

Cetacean Property: A Hegelish Account of Nonhuman Property

Georgia State University
Hegel dolphins property identity agency habitat Locke


First, I spell out the details of a Hegelish conception of property. To clarify what makes this account unique, I compare it to a labor-mixing conception of property that finds its origins in Locke. In doing so, I highlight strengths of a Hegelish account of property over its Lockean alternative. Then, I show how dolphins, consistent with a Hegelish account of property, are property owners of their oceanic habitats. Finally, I outline the strengths of a Hegelish account of property as it would apply to dolphins and perhaps other nonhuman animals in protecting them. It is not my aim to argue that a Hegelish account of nonhuman property is the only viable path toward recognizing nonhuman property. Rather, I hope to show that such an account holds promise as a tool in the conceptual toolbox handled by theorists of the political turn in animal ethics.


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