Natural Law, Property, and Redistribution

Journal of Religious Ethics 21 (1):165 - 180 (1993)
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Abstract

In his essay "Natural Law, Property, and Justice," B. Andrew Lustig argues for what he calls "significant correspondences" between John Locke's theory of property and scholastic theories of property on the one hand, and between Locke's theory and contemporary Catholic social teaching on the other. These correspondences, Lustig claims, establish an intellectual "tradition of property in common." I argue that linking Aquinas--even via Locke--to the redistributivism of contemporary Catholic social teaching requires distorting his political theory. This distortion, I argue, obscures the possibility of using Aquinas's political theory as a basis for radical social criticism.

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Paul Weithman
University of Notre Dame

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