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Spring 2021 Seminar

Pierson v. Post and the Theory of Property Seminar

Prerequisites: Property

Exam Type: No Exam

Many first-year property courses begin with Pierson v. Post, 3 Cai. R. 175, 2 Am. Dec. 264 (N.Y. 1805). A considerable amount of historical work has been devoted to that case recently, and what it has shown is that there was a lot more going on in the case than can normally be covered in a first-year course. The case also has considerable relevance to the theories of property that were current in its time, principally those of Hobbes and Locke, and also to theories of property that were developed later, such as those of Hegel, Marx, Bentham, and Hohfeld, and their various more modern followers. This seminar will give students the opportunity to explore both the history and the theory in some depth. A substantial piece of writing will be required, either on the history or on the theory or on both. An extra hour of writing credit will be available.