Degree Granting Department
authorship, copyright, IP, labor, Locke, patents
This thesis argues in favor of an instrumental approach to Intellectual Property (IP). I begin by reviewing justifications for IP that have been offered in recent literature, including Lockean labor theory, Hegelian personality theory, Kantian property theory and utilitarianism. Upon a close and careful analysis, I argue that none of these justifications suffice to ground contemporary IP practice. I review some recent works that offer `pluralist' justifications for IP, which draw from multiple theories in order to account for the diverse field of IP-related laws and practices in existence. I argue that these pluralist theories are also insufficient, because there is no principled reason why one theory is adopted over another in any particular case. In conclusion, I show that an instrumentalist attitude can best explain and justify IP laws and practices.
Scholar Commons Citation
Kanning, Michael A., "A Philosophical Analysis of Intellectual Property: In Defense of Instrumentalism" (2012). Graduate Theses and Dissertations.