more from Robert Nozick

Single Idea 20521

[catalogued under 25. Social Practice / C. Rights / 4. Property rights]

Full Idea

If I own a can of tomato juice and spill it in the sea so that its molecules mingle evenly throughout the sea, do I thereby come to own the sea?

Gist of Idea

Can I come to own the sea, by mixing my private tomato juice with it?


Robert Nozick (Anarchy,State, and Utopia [1974], p.175)

Book Reference

Nozick,Robert: 'Anarchy,State, and Utopia' [Blackwell 1980], p.175

A Reaction

This is a reductio of Locke's claim that I can own land by 'mixing' my labour with it. At first glance, mixing something with something would seem to have nothing to do with ownership.