Writing about the English law of real property, Pollock and Maitland observe that ‘proprietary rights in land are, we may say, projected upon the plane of time. The category of … duration, is applied to them’. They have in mind the variety of estates in land of the feudal period. But all legal property rights have at least an implicit temporal dimension. They confer on owners a temporally extended protection of the exercise of various kinds of control over the things they own, a protection that can sometimes endure even after the death of the owner. It is an interesting if neglected question in modern theories of property why we should care about the temporal extension of property protection. It is also an interesting question why (if at all) we should care about the extension of this protection beyond an owner’s death. Thinking about the second question provoked this article but, as I shall suggest, in order to respond to it we must also consider the ﬁrst … (more)
Charles R Beitz, ‘Property and Time’, Journal of Political Philosophy. First published: 16 October 2017. DOI: 10.1111/jopp.12145.