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Philosophy

Absolute Control and Ownership

I have previously argued both that ownership not absolute control. The control in ownership is only categorical control. Absolute control over anything is not possible for human beings. Neither is it possible for any being that is not God. This is the reason why control in ownership is categorical rather than absolute.

Absolute control is the ability to control absolutely everything about a particular thing. This includes the existence of the thing and its accidents. Furthermore, this is the sort of control that is continually exercised. Without this continual control, the thing would simply cease to exist. If someone had absolute control of something, then it would be impossible for another to steal it, change it, or do anything that the person controlling it did not permit. This kind of control is something that only God has.

Categorical control is the highest degree of control that non-divine beings can have. This is the kind of control that alters things, forms and destroys things as well as exchanges things with one another. Human beings cannot maintain such categorical control of all things that they have a claim to at once. Even if we only owned one thing and kept it with us at all times, we would still need to sleep. During sleep we could not control the thing we owned. Even if we could maintain this level of control at all times, it would still be possible for another to overpower us and steal the thing we own. It is for this reason that ownership is the right to categorical control rather than categorical control itself.

This should give adequate reason for categorical control as opposed to absolute control. Human beings cannot, no matter how individually powerful, technological advanced, or any other perfection given to human beings, ever attain a greater degree of control over things than categorical control. No matter what perfection is given to human beings, we could still learn more and become more powerful. If someone else has done so, then they could overpower us and take away our things. Since this describes categorical control rather than absolute control, ownership cannot be absolute control. It must be categorical control instead.

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