In this article, I seek to reclaim for property theory the legitimation concern that is the kernel of the principle of numerus clausus (which is a restriction that means that it cannot be up to private persons to create new forms of property right, but only to trade rights that take existing forms). I advance two general claims. First, functional accounts of this principle cannot but fail adequately to explain it. Second, the numerus clausus can be cast into sharp relief by elaborating the legitimation question that captures its moral centre - that is, a concern about how political authority is possible in the context of legislating new forms of property right. I insist, in this regard, that the conception of political legitimation that characterizes the creation of novel forms of property right is that of democratic self-governance.


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pp. 467-520
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