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concept of theft and property

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cab21 Posted: Mon, Oct 15 2012 4:31 PM

so is theft in the eye of the beholder?

if one person says he owns something, and another says he owns that same thing, it seems one person would see the other person taking the property as theft, but the other person would see it as claiming what is rightfully his. these different definition of ownership will have one feeling violated and the other feeling justified.

how are people to know what property is claimed and where the boundaries are, even with a universial definition?

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gotlucky replied on Mon, Oct 15 2012 4:48 PM

cab21:

so is theft in the eye of the beholder?

Yes and no. Yes in the sense that not everyone agrees as to what should belong to whom, but no in the sense that the actual act that took place (taking something) did occur. So the argument is really about whether the act of taking something was legitimate or illegitimate.

cab21:

if one person says he owns something, and another says he owns that same thing, it seems one person would see the other person taking the property as theft, but the other person would see it as claiming what is rightfully his. these different definition of ownership will have one feeling violated and the other feeling justified.

Yes, this sort of thing can and does happen. No solution - libertarian, communist, or otherwise - will please everyone all the time. 

cab21:

how are people to know what property is claimed and where the boundaries are, even with a universial definition?

That is a matter for law. Libertarians have their concept of what law ought to be, and many libertarians also recognize that having a monopoly on law is one of the worst methods for reaching their ideal. If you haven't already read these, I highly recommend that you read What Law Is and A Praxeological Account of Law by Clayton, and Crusoe, Morality, and Axiomatic Libertarianism by Nielsio.

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