The Foundations of Property

The Foundations of Property

Bart J. Wilson
Show Date
May 16, 2021
Chapman University Law School
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Property is a concept at once so simple that a 4-year-old can grasp it, yet so complex that the greatest legal minds have not been able to formally settle on a definition.

Law students are presented with the classic case of Pierson v. Post to illustrate how a dispute over the rightful owner of a fox carcass cannot be settled without surveying a whole host of historical legal treatises.

Pinning Down Property

Bart J. Wilson is a Professor of Economics and Law and the Donald P. Kennedy Endowed Chair in Economics and Law at Chapman University, where he co-founded the Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy, for which he serves as the director.

His economic research aims to better understand humans as we interact with each other and our environment - especially with respect to things that can be considered as β€œyours” and β€œmine,” i.e., private property.

His new book, The Property Species: Mine, Yours, and the Human Mind, is one of the most comprehensive studies ever undertaken of how we come to own stuff, and from whence this essential concept arises.