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Critical Reflections on Ownership

The late Mary Warnock, formerly Oxford University, UK
In this thought provoking work, Mary Warnock explores what it is to own things, and the differences in our attitude to what we own and what we do not.

Starting from the philosophical standpoints of Locke and Hume, the ownership of gardens is presented as a prime example, exploring both private and common ownership, historically and autobiographically. The author concludes that, besides pleasure and pride, ownership brings a sense of responsibility for what is owned and a fundamental question is brought to light: can we feel the same responsibility for what we do not, and never can, own? Applying this question to the natural world and the planet as a whole, a realistic and gradualist perspective is offered on confronting global environmental degradation. Critical Reflections on Ownership examines the effect of the Romantic Movement on our attitudes to nature and is a salient commentary on the history of ideas.
Extent: 168 pp
Hardback Price: $99.95 Web: $89.95
Publication Date: 2015
ISBN: 978 1 78195 546 8
Availability: In Stock
Paperback Price: $29.95 Web: $23.96
Publication Date: 2015
ISBN: 978 1 78195 547 5
Availability: In Stock
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  • Environment
  • Environmental Law
  • Law - Academic
  • Environmental Law
  • Human Rights
  • Legal Philosophy
In this thought-provoking work, Mary Warnock explores what it is to own things, and the differences in our attitude to what we own and what we do not.

Starting from the philosophical standpoints of Locke and Hume, the ownership of gardens is presented as a prime example, exploring both private and common ownership, historically and autobiographically. The author concludes that, besides pleasure and pride, ownership brings a sense of responsibility for what is owned and a fundamental question is brought to light: can we feel the same responsibility for what we do not, and never can, own? Applying this question to the natural world and the planet as a whole, a realistic and gradualist perspective is offered on confronting global environmental degradation. Critical Reflections on Ownership examines the effect of the Romantic Movement on our attitudes to nature and is a salient commentary on the history of ideas.

Providing an accessible entrance into moral philosophy and its practical applications, this book is an invaluable source for students in the fields of politics and philosophy. Academics interested in conceptions of ownership, and in the interface between philosophy, morality and politics, will find this deeply considered insight to be a stimulating read.
‘Mary Warnock’s Critical Reflections on Ownership is a sustained meditation on the significance that ownership has for us from one of our finest philosophical voices. First exploring the responsibility and love we have for things that are owned, she goes on to provide a penetrating investigation of the relationship we have to those things which we do not, indeed cannot, own, in particular the natural world. Critical Reflections on Ownership is required reading for anyone who wants to think deeply, and clearly, about the prospect of a global environmental cataclysm and what we might do to address it.’
– J.E. Penner, author of The Idea of Property in Law

‘Mary Warnock is one of the leading figures of the post-WWII philosophy in Britain. Her scope of publications is quite extraordinary: from ethics to existentialism and metaphysics; from education policy to bioethics and to the place of religious arguments in public morality. Given such breadth, it comes as no surprise that she takes on new challenges in the form of the philosophy of ownership with a strong aroma of environmental concerns.’
– Environmental Values
Contents: 1. The Scope of the Investigation: Can Absolutely Anything be Owned? 2. Origins of Society and Property 3: Property, Intimacy and Privacy: Gardening as Ownership in Action 4: Common Ownership 1: Communism 5: Common Ownership 2: Some More Modest Forms 6: The Unowned: The Romantic Idea of Wilderness 7: Taking Responsibility for the Planet 8: What Can be Done? Some Useful Compromises 9: Why Do We Want to Preserve the Natural World? Index