On May 16, 2022, Götz Werner Visiting Professor Karl Widerquist will give a lecture on the prehistory of private property and its implications for modern political theory.

In 2021 he published a monograph on the lecture topic together with Grant S. McCall. This book aims to debunk three false claims commonly accepted by contemporary political philosophers regarding property systems: that inequality is natural, inevitable, or a natural consequence of freedom; that capitalism is more consistent with negative freedom than any other conceivable economic system; and that the normative principles of appropriation and voluntary transfer applied in the world in which we live support a capitalist system with strong, individualist and unequal private property rights.

The authors review the history of the use and importance of these claims in philosophy, and use thorough anthropological and historical evidence to refute them. They show that societies with common-property systems maintaining strong equality and extensive freedom were initially nearly ubiquitous around the world, and that the private property rights system was established through a long series of violent state-sponsored aggressions.

Time: 6 pm – 8 pm

Place: Institut für Soziologie, Rempartstr. 15,  79098 Freiburg, Übungsraum 1, 5. Stock