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Henry E. Smith, Emergent Property, in Philosophical Foundations of Property Law 320 (James Penner & Henry E. Smith eds., 2013).

Abstract: This chapter considers a type of reductionism in property theory, that of a certain kind of anti-conceptualism under which property is not to be conceived of in terms of general concepts like the fee simple or the right to immediate, exclusive possession, but is rather to be understood and applied as a series of rules or norms to be applied on a case-by-case basis. It argues that identifying the important role that concepts play as intensions — modes of presenting particulars in the world — explains some dilemmas in property theory and paves the way for a better type of theory that combines the best of conceptualism and realism, formalism and contextualism, functionalism and moralism, and even reductionism and holism. It analyzes the perennial problem in property theory of the nature of in rem rights.