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Jon Southall

Ownership of Metaphysically Givens

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"Any natural phenomenon, i.e., any event which occurs without human participation, is the metaphysically given, and could not have occurred differently or failed to occur; any phenomenon involving human action is the man-made, and could have been different." Lexicon 

Rand made a distinction between "metaphysically givens" and "man-made" facts. 

For example, a wilderness would be a metaphysically given fact of reality whereas a farm wouldn't be.

Man-made facts occur as a consequence of the exercise and application of human volition. It is the law of causality which determines what is man-made and what is metaphysically given.

"The source of property rights is the law of causality. All property and all forms of wealth are produced by man’s mind and labor." Ayn Rand

The source of property rights is the law of causality, given the above criteria property rights can only apply to man-made facts. Discuss.

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This is a very broad definition, which reveals the foresight and wisdom of Rand (or perhaps the sheer amount of chewing and thinking she did).  It is to be noted that assignment of property rights is implied.

 

An unmodified atom is metaphysically given, a collection of them in a certain form resulting from human effort is not. 

An inaccessible pile of gold in bedrock is metaphysically given, a 3 year excavation of a site to enable efficient access to it is not.

The mere fact that a primitive can understand metals are malleable is akin (although perhaps not technically the same as) the metaphysically given, being so obvious, but the production through mental labor of the design for the invention of the first working steam engine is not.

 

Certainly Rand's definition is correct in its ability to cover all property we know of but I wonder if anyone can come up with a new "property" right which falls outside of the definition? I certainly cannot.

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Agreed. End of discussion then?

Some people would argue that some metaphysically givens can be owned. Even Objectivists actually.

Two examples:

1. Geographic locations

2. Airways

I would argue that no valid property rights exist as far as the above are concerned, using "Rand's Ownership Criteria" (ROC) in the OP.

A claim of a property right in either regard can be taken as an admission of being in receipt of government force backed privileges.

Who would disagree?

Edited by Jon Southall

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The link between the Aristotelian/Axiomatic certainty of the laws of existence,  identity, and causality (certain because as basis of all it requires their use to disprove) and the basis of property rights in ethics/politics requires an ethical axiom - a self-sustaining human life has a right to exist.  That's a strong statement I hope my peers will support or analyze.

The fact that a thing exists is independent of the countless issues of human property rights.

Edited by jacassidy2

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5 hours ago, Jon Southall said:

Who would disagree?

If you make productive use. If you do nothing with it, you've no claim of ownership. Planting carrots in a plot of land isn't metaphysically given. Broadcasting Game of Thrones isn't metaphysically given.

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Eioul,

If something is being used productively, like farmland or broadcasting, it meets the ROC. 

What really interests me is Ayn Rand's explanation of property rights. She was always very precise in conveying her meaning.

What I focus on in particular is her stated claims that rights are not to an actual object, but rather they conclude who gets to use it, keep it, dispose of it - they are rights of action. They are earned in the creation of whatever meets the ROC.

Metaphysical givens can't be owned. The significance of this, for example, is what one owns when they say they own a farm. The owner does not own the territory, the earth, the wheat, the fertilizer in the sense of the physical existents. What he owns is a right to use, keep and dispose of them, to the extent he has earned them, that is to the extent that the farm is a man-made fact meeting the ROC.

If one derives an income from a metaphysical given, it can only be due to forced-backed privelege.

For example, take the claim of ownership of the airways, which are a metaphysical given, in order that the government can charge broadcasters. 

Or take the claim of ownership of metaphysically given territory, which people are charged for by landowners in order to occupy it. 

In the above two examples, to what extent do they meet the ROC?

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Jon

 

Can I suggest we step back a little?  Let's not discuss anything about "rents" or "privilege" until we have some base or context regarding what you feel constitutes rightful property ownership, what property IS and what principles it is based on. 

In other words, I am proposing to have the "positive" discussion first. 

 

Then possibly we can investigate the boundaries?  See where and why you stop and see where and why Objectivists stop farther along?

I think it will be more productive and intellectually honest/consistent if this approach is taken.

Cheers

SL 

jacassidy2 and DonAthos like this

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12 hours ago, Jon Southall said:

In the above two examples, to what extent do they meet the ROC?

What's wrong with my examples? They meet the criteria fine. That is, it's not literally the airwave that you own as much as what you're broadcasting (e.g. Game of Thrones content) or a having put content into it.

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49 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Jon

 

Can I suggest we step back a little?  Let's not discuss anything about "rents" or "privilege" until we have some base or context regarding what you feel constitutes rightful property ownership, what property IS and what principles it is based on. 

In other words, I am proposing to have the "positive" discussion first. 

 

Then possibly we can investigate the boundaries?  See where and why you stop and see where and why Objectivists stop farther along?

I think it will be more productive and intellectually honest/consistent if this approach is taken.

Cheers

SL 

SL has, as usual, exposed the real issues, not the things that are just fun to debate.  Metaphysics/existence is primary while ethics (and the epistemology upon which it is based) is secondary.  Ignorance of this truth often causes thinkers to ask the wrong question or ask a valid question in a way that makes discussion difficult.  I would suggest the original poster stop and think of a simple question he/she has an interest in, even if it requires a "concrete" thought experiment.  Txs, Jack

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Eiuol, nothing is wrong with your examples, they meet the ROC.

Do you make a distinction between say "airways" and "airwaves"? In the case of a broadcast, the former is a metaphysical given, the latter is a man-made fact. Your examples were of the latter, distinct from the former.

Does that clarify it sufficiently?

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The first step in creating a man made object is to acquire the metaphysically given materials that make up the man made object.  So how do you make your man made object without owning the metaphysically given materials in the first place?  

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SL,

I believe I am using Ayn Rand's definition of property, and her distinction between metaphysically givens and man-made facts.

My contention is not to depart from Rand's argument, but to realise it to the full. Therefore I cannot give you a contrast of my position compared to Objectivists; it should be one and the same. But I can tell you the mistake I think some Objectivists are making, and maybe even Rand herself. I will start with the positive aspects.

Rand often used of the Law of Causality in her philosophy, which she defines as "the law of identity applied to action". The nature of an action is dependent on the nature of the entities that act, and you cannot have actions without actors. Rand uses this concept in a number of notable situations.

One situation is where it comes to a person's character. A person's character is determined by their volitional actions. You learn something about the nature of a person by looking at the choices they have made, and this is what gives you an impression of their character. For example, someone who loves computing, chooses a career in this area and creates new technologies which are highly valued by society, could be judged to have a good character, at least insofar of their career choices. But more than this, the choices the person made are also facts about him, his volitional actions and the consequences of them belong to him. So as well as our pioneer justly taking credit for his career success, he also has to accept his responsibility for any misdeeds he has committed.

Another situation is where it comes to a person's property. Just as a person's volitional actions determine their character, it also determines their property; specifically when it comes to the application of their thinking to create/produce values. And as in the case of a person's character, what belongs to a person is established by what they were the cause of. All man-made facts came into existence due to man, they are the consequences of the production of values. In order for values to be produced, there were producers, and they are to whom the property belongs. A person cannot claim, as his, something that was produced by someone else or no-one. It is not a fact of reality that the claimant was the cause of it. Such a claim is to try to take what does not belong to the claimant. Unless of course, a mutually consented to trade takes place, but then again the law of causality comes into effect. Traders can only trade man-made facts; this is in order for it to be a fact of reality that what they are trading does belong to them to start with. In a trade, both parties decide to act in their own interests by entering into some kind of exchange. Although literally each trader was not the cause of the values produced originally by the other, by agreeing to a volitional trade it is as for all intents and purposes as if they were.

Rand expressed her reasoning via Galt, where she wrote:

"The source of property rights is the law of causality. All property and all forms of wealth are produced by man’s mind and labor. As you cannot have effects without causes, so you cannot have wealth without its source: without intelligence...You cannot obtain the products of a mind except on the owner’s terms, by trade and by volitional consent."   

This concludes I suppose the "positive" aspect of it. 

The issue I have with the approach taken by some Objectivists (that I referred to earlier) is a failure to properly discriminate/make the distinction between metaphysically givens and man-made facts. This results in an error of reason where they accept the validity of claimed property rights over things which man was not the cause of. Now I know no real Objectivists would want to make such an error, but they do. We are all fallible. 

So for example, take the concept "land", defined broadly as metaphysical givens. Land is used as a factor of production, and from it we create things like farms, factories, homes and so on. The man-made facts are the farms, the factories, the homes. Full property rights exist for these, precisely as explained above. Distinct from this is what is still land, i.e. metaphysically given facts besides the man-made facts, to which no claimed rights can have a causal basis. Objectivists think that the farm owner, the factory owner and the homeowner also own the metaphysically given geographical land space, in addition to the man-made facts within a particular geographic location. The arguments given for why we should treat metaphysically given facts as property oddly share nothing in common with Rand's arguments for what the basis of property rights are. This interests me and exploring this is what this thread is for.

 

Edited by Jon Southall

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Craig,

" The first step in creating a man made object is to acquire the metaphysically given materials that make up the man made object.  So how do you make your man made object without owning the metaphysically given materials in the first place? "

Metaphysically given facts don't belong to anyone, so anyone can take what they want. In fact the act of acquiring metaphysically givens establishes initial ownership on a first come first served basis. This does not mean I can steal the bricks from your house; they are man-made facts and are governed by your property rights.

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Jon:

Please give an example of an existent which is properly subject to property rights.

Any example you embrace and uphold is acceptable as a starting point.

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11 hours ago, Jon Southall said:

Eiuol, nothing is wrong with your examples, they meet the ROC.

Do you make a distinction between say "airways" and "airwaves"? In the case of a broadcast, the former is a metaphysical given, the latter is a man-made fact. Your examples were of the latter, distinct from the former.

Does that clarify it sufficiently?

They weren't supposed to be a distinction, my mistake. The ownership is just derived from making use of things. It's less about the thing, and more about using a thing. What you're referring to as metaphysically given is really just something that exists without intervention. So if you do nothing with a given, you've no claim to it. Whether it exists -as- a metaphysically given thing is irrelevant. Of course it's government backed, as is ownership of your car, it's just how law is (you have rules that are enforceable, justice doesn't magically happen as karma).

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The problem with that is to what extent can the government back individual claims to the unowned and unearnt?

The whole problem we have is with the government doing exactly that through the mixed economy - taxation, welfare state, acceptance as rights a right to a job, a right to a house etc etc. This is what we get with a government that backs rights which are not in fact rights at all.

The distinction is therefore crucial isn't it?

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19 hours ago, Jon Southall said:

Any man-made fact will do. A skyscraper.

When speaking of property rights in connection with the skyscraper let's look at various aspects of the skyscraper and the various aspects of the property rights, including what is necessary for enjoyment of the right to the skyscraper.

For now let's deal with the Skyscraper itself

The Skyscraper

There are a great many aspects of the skyscraper which were brought about by the actions of man, however, there are a great many which have been left unaltered or simply cannot be a result of man's action.  Let's go through a list of facts and then delve into the "man-made" or "metaphysically given" status of the aspect (and sub-aspects):

a.  The existence of the fundamental matter (electrons, protons, etc.) which makes up the matter of the skyscraper.  The facts are that in the creation of the skyscraper you do not happen to create electrons protons or any fundamental particle. (leave aside whether or not you could do so with future technology)

b.  The location of the fundamental matter which makes up the skyscraper.  Most of it was moved many miles from the points of their origin, some of it was moved many tens of feet (dirt and rocks), some of it was shifted during construction (a useful slab of bedrock at the site was shifted 3 cm to be integrated with the structural foundation).  One interesting feature of the skyscraper is that the lobby has been constructed around a gorgeous outcrop of rock with a large tree growing partially upon it.  This last centerpiece of the skyscraper (a homage to nature) has not been altered in any fashion.

c.  The molecular and other arrangements of the matter.  Some of the matter which makes up the skyscraper, such as the rocks embedded in the cement and other composites have not lost their integrity since before they were relocated by man (some of the more decorative composites have river pebbles which were taken unharmed).  Other rocks although hewn from quarries are internally unchanged although they have been separated from the original bedrock in which they were resting.  Each of these retain their molecular structure.  Various other materials such as various adhesives, mortars, glasses, and alloys have been processed to such a degree that most of their make up is chemically, (whether covalent or ionic bonding) different.  Of course the atoms (barring any nuclear fusion or fission being involved in the construction) will not have been modified other than their location and bonding to other atoms.

d.  The form of the matter, has changed in many instances.  Certainly in the larger components which comprise smaller ones which may or may not be altered.  A decorative wall of stones in the skyscraper for example is a formation made of unaltered river stones held together with mortar. The metal beams themselves are a reshaping of purified and processed metals whose atoms are only rearranged into a particular shape instead of being uselessly distributed and bonded in impurities as it was in the mine from which it was extracted.  In many cases items can be identified as merely a rearrangement of the positions and bonding of the matter, or essentially a reshaping of the form, while in other cases the form has not been changed only its location.

 

Some of the facts above are manmade some are "metaphysically-given". Note that the sheer existence of fundamental constituents of existence cannot ever be manmade but many things can be done with them. [even if man could master useful conversion of energy to matter, it would not change the fact that man changed the form of the fundamental stuffs, but has not created something ex nihilo]

 

In your opinion (you need not try to quote anything from Rand)

Which do you take as "metaphysically givens"? 

Does that fact that there are certain aspects which are "metaphysically givens" disqualify any property right therein?

 

Slowly moving towards a discussion of property rights...

How can one not have a "property right" to the fundamental matter/constituents of a thing but have a property right to some higher aspect of the thing?  What would that mean, i.e. what is the nature of such a property right?

 

Please leave government out of this.  They do not give rise to rights, rights give rise to a proper government.

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19 hours ago, Jon Southall said:

Any man-made fact will do. A skyscraper.

When speaking of property rights in connection with the skyscraper let's look at various aspects of the skyscraper and the various aspects of the property rights, including what is necessary for enjoyment of the right to the skyscraper.

For now let's deal with the Skyscraper itself

The Skyscraper

There are a great many aspects of the skyscraper which were brought about by the actions of man, however, there are a great many which have been left unaltered or simply cannot be a result of man's action.  Let's go through a list of facts and then delve into the "man-made" or "metaphysically given" status of the aspect (and sub-aspects):

a.  The existence of the fundamental matter (electrons, protons, etc.) which makes up the matter of the skyscraper.  The facts are that in the creation of the skyscraper you do not happen to create electrons protons or any fundamental particle. (leave aside whether or not you could do so with future technology)

b.  The location of the fundamental matter which makes up the skyscraper.  Most of it was moved many miles from the points of their origin, some of it was moved many tens of feet (dirt and rocks), some of it was shifted during construction (a useful slab of bedrock at the site was shifted 3 cm to be integrated with the structural foundation).  One interesting feature of the skyscraper is that the lobby has been constructed around a gorgeous outcrop of rock with a large tree growing partially upon it.  This last centerpiece of the skyscraper (a homage to nature) has not been altered in any fashion.

c.  The molecular and other arrangements of the matter.  Some of the matter which makes up the skyscraper, such as the rocks embedded in the cement and other composites have not lost their integrity since before they were relocated by man (some of the more decorative composites have river pebbles which were taken unharmed).  Other rocks although hewn from quarries are internally unchanged although they have been separated from the original bedrock in which they were resting.  Each of these retain their molecular structure.  Various other materials such as various adhesives, mortars, glasses, and alloys have been processed to such a degree that most of their make up is chemically, (whether covalent or ionic bonding) different.  Of course the atoms (barring any nuclear fusion or fission being involved in the construction) will not have been modified other than their location and bonding to other atoms.

d.  The form of the matter, has changed in many instances.  Certainly in the larger components which comprise smaller ones which may or may not be altered.  A decorative wall of stones in the skyscraper for example is a formation made of unaltered river stones held together with mortar. The metal beams themselves are a reshaping of purified and processed metals whose atoms are only rearranged into a particular shape instead of being uselessly distributed and bonded in impurities as it was in the mine from which it was extracted.  In many cases items can be identified as merely a rearrangement of the positions and bonding of the matter, or essentially a reshaping of the form, while in other cases the form has not been changed only its location.

 

Some of the facts above are manmade some are "metaphysically-given". Note that the sheer existence of fundamental constituents of existence cannot ever be manmade but many things can be done with them. [even if man could master useful conversion of energy to matter, it would not change the fact that man changed the form of the fundamental stuffs, but has not created something ex nihilo]

 

In your opinion (you need not try to quote anything from Rand)

Which do you take as "metaphysically givens"? 

Does that fact that there are certain aspects which are "metaphysically givens" disqualify any property right therein?

 

Slowly moving towards a discussion of property rights...

How can one not have a "property right" to the fundamental matter/constituents of a thing but have a property right to some higher aspect of the thing?  What would that mean, i.e. what is the nature of such a property right?

 

Please leave government out of this.  They do not give rise to rights, rights give rise to a proper government.

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SL,

My preference is to focus on what Rand argued, her arguments being the basis of her philosophy of Objectivism, which I have presented and then explained what I have an issue with - that being a violation of the law of causality in claiming property rights with regards to metaphysically givens.

The skyscraper is a man-made fact, it exists because of man, it does not exist in nature. A skyscraper is legitimately owned property, but the metaphysically given aspects of it cannot be.

This is precisely why Rand wrote that property rights are not rights to an object. That's my contention - Rand understood that rights are rights of action, not to metaphysically givens. Rights of action are earned through the application of knowledge and labour, through which the man-made facts were created. 

So what we are really debating is Rand's distinction between metaphysically given facts and man-made facts.

Your contention is that if a skyscraper is built in a way to exploit a natural feature that the natural feature becomes a man-made fact. I think you need to justify this, because you could easily say the luxury seafront apartment I build to exploit a beautiful view of the ocean means I have rights over an energy company that wants to build an offshore wind farm where I can see it. Does the sea view become a man-made fact simply because it exists beyond my windows? 

So I would say the untouched tree is not owned. The seaview is not owned.

In owning a skyscraper, one owns what they were the cause of in its creation. They weren't the cause of the metaphysically givens (MGs) which were used in its creation, these are unowned properties, the objects. The individual creators were the cause of the these MGs being arranged into a skyscraper; it was their minds & efforts behind it.

Therefore although an individual owner of a skyscraper does not own the particles and atoms, he does get to say who gets to do anything with them, for he was the cause of their arrangement. A skyscraper came into existence due to his action. That's what property rights really mean. They are rooted in the law of causality.

The error I think you are making is to argue that because a skyscraper is dependent on metaphysically givens, that property rights must be both to the object itself and the right of action with regards to the object. This is an error by the fact it contradicts my reasoning as set out above (and Rand's), which I believe for now to be sound.

Your argument would also not be an Objectivist position, as it would be inconsistent with Rand's stated position on what property rights are. That's fine but you need to be open about it.

 

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41 minutes ago, Jon Southall said:

SL,

My preference is to focus on what Rand argued, her arguments being the basis of her philosophy of Objectivism, which I have presented and then explained what I have an issue with - that being a violation of the law of causality in claiming property rights with regards to metaphysically givens.

The skyscraper is a man-made fact, it exists because of man, it does not exist in nature. A skyscraper is legitimately owned property, but the metaphysically given aspects of it cannot be.

This is precisely why Rand wrote that property rights are not rights to an object. That's my contention - Rand understood that rights are rights of action, not to metaphysically givens. Rights of action are earned through the application of knowledge and labour, through which the man-made facts were created. 

So what we are really debating is Rand's distinction between metaphysically given facts and man-made facts.

Your contention is that if a skyscraper is built in a way to exploit a natural feature that the natural feature becomes a man-made fact. I think you need to justify this, because you could easily say the luxury seafront apartment I build to exploit a beautiful view of the ocean means I have rights over an energy company that wants to build an offshore wind farm where I can see it. Does the sea view become a man-made fact simply because it exists beyond my windows? 

So I would say the untouched tree is not owned. The seaview is not owned.

In owning a skyscraper, one owns what they were the cause of in its creation. They weren't the cause of the metaphysically givens (MGs) which were used in its creation, these are unowned properties, the objects. The individual creators were the cause of the these MGs being arranged into a skyscraper; it was their minds & efforts behind it.

Therefore although an individual owner of a skyscraper does not own the particles and atoms, he does get to say who gets to do anything with them, for he was the cause of their arrangement. A skyscraper came into existence due to his action. That's what property rights really mean. They are rooted in the law of causality.

The error I think you are making is to argue that because a skyscraper is dependent on metaphysically givens, that property rights must be both to the object itself and the right of action with regards to the object. This is an error by the fact it contradicts my reasoning as set out above (and Rand's), which I believe for now to be sound.

Your argument would also not be an Objectivist position, as it would be inconsistent with Rand's stated position on what property rights are. That's fine but you need to be open about it.

 

I have made no such argument.

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1 hour ago, Jon Southall said:

This is precisely why Rand wrote that property rights are not rights to an object. That's my contention - Rand understood that rights are rights of action, not to metaphysically givens.

I believe that much has been made of this particular observation of Rand's (in this conversation and elsewhere), but not always as I think she meant it. Here's the relevant quote:

Quote

Bear in mind that the right to property is a right to action, like all the others: it is not the right to an object, but to the action and the consequences of producing or earning that object. It is not a guarantee that a man will earn any property, but only a guarantee that he will own it if he earns it. It is the right to gain, to keep, to use and to dispose of material values.

Here's what I believe it means:

When I "own an orange," what does that mean? It means that I have the right "to gain, to keep, to use and to dispose of" that orange. It is mine, exclusively, to eat (or to give away to another to eat, or etc.); these are the actions which are entailed in my claim to "property."

This can be compared against some claim that I might "own the orange," but have no right, necessarily, to eat it. That some law, for instance, may be passed which restricts my ability to eat the orange... with a corresponding claim that my property rights have not been violated, because I still "have" the orange.

I believe that this is what Rand was saying. Not to weaken any bit of my claim to own the orange, but to describe what it means to own the orange, and what it means is that I may gain it, keep it, use it, and dispose of it.

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Hi Don,

That is certainly one consequence of what Rand was saying, but I can't find evidence that this was her motive for framing it in that way. My view is that Miss Rand makes reference to the causality criteria because it integrates harmoniously with the rest of her philosophy.

On land ownership for example, Rand wrote:

"The citizens did not have to pay the government as if it were an owner; ownership began with them, and they earned it by the method which is the source and root of the concept of "property": by working on unused material resources, by turning a wilderness into a civilized settlement. "

Again Rand is explicitly linking one's role in creating man-made facts - e.g. building a civilisation (by working on metaphysically given facts - e.g. a wilderness) as the means of earning property and establishing private property rights.

In her essay on property rights relating to the airways, Miss Rand asserts that the airways are not public property and so she rejects license fees. It is the airwaves /broadcasting channels which are the man-made facts and private property, the ownership of which is established through productive human work and thinking, on a first come first served basis - the exact same basis as territory ownership.

I agree with her assertion about the airways, but what is the reason why they can't be owned publicly and why are individuals free to use them to broadcast airwaves through? The only reason which can be given is that Miss Rand identified airways to be a metaphysically given fact, men were not the cause of them and can't claim ownership privately or publicly. Men did create airwaves to be broadcasted, and these man-made facts are what falls under private property.

The role of causality is prevalent in all cases and of course it would be so, because it is the sole means of identifying who has rights of action. 

For example in her writings on copyrights and patents, Miss Rand argues that an invention which is given physical expression in some way (for example producing a model of it) is a creation resulting from an individual, it is a man-made fact. Therefore is properly is considered to be his intellectual property. Where two inventors come up with the same idea but one marginally beats the other, she argues that the first to register it has the rights - consistent with the first come first served principle.

Furthermore on patents and copyrights, if someone discovers a fact of reality, Rand is clear that they do not have any rights to the metaphysically given - its free for any person to use and apply an improved understanding of reality following the discovery. The person can claim rights to be acknowledged as the one who made the discovery, to be recognised as such. The distinction between when one has and does not have a property right again comes down to what role the actor played.

I hope these examples help to illustrate why I am thinking along these lines. The absurdity of charging a license fee to permit use of the airways is to me as absurd as charging an occupation fee- "economic rent" for the use of territory. Both examples run contrary to capitalism, they are not moral.

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SL,

Apologies I may have mistakenly taken this as a rhetorical question:

"How can one not have a "property right" to the fundamental matter/constituents of a thing but have a property right to some higher aspect of the thing?  What would that mean, i.e. what is the nature of such a property right?"

In my response to Don above I have addressed this, let me know if you want to query it further.

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JS:

 

Let's continue a little with the skyscraper and then with airwaves.

 

Skyscraper

Further facts.  Because you are interested with the outcropping and trees let's elaborate on a few further facts.

1.  The outcropping is actually located near the sea and will be destroyed by tidal erosion in about 200 years.  The tree is a conifer which (now rare) is a kind which is very sensitive to a particular insect which has invaded the area from the other side of the world.  The surrounding forest, a number of nearby trees, and shrubs crowding the tree have been removed. The environment in the lobby has been made to ensure the health and longevity of both the tree and the rock.  The tree and rock have been isolated, almost all of its natural surrounding removed, and its entire environment, now controlled. 

 

Airwaves:

Suppose you invent radio, and because of limitations of your technology you have built one large bulky transmitter at location A and one large receiver at location B.  You use particular frequencies to send messages back and forth.

I) Someone comes along and puts on "the land" between your locations, a huge metal wall which interferes with your system enough to make your communications impossible.

II) Someone comes along on the "land" near one of your locations and begins to transmit noise at the frequencies you are using, enough to make your communications impossible.

 

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