In its primary sense restitution is “restoration of somethinglost or stolen to its proper owner” (The New Oxford AmericanDictionary 2001?). Clearly then reparation and restitution clearlyboth presuppose the separation of something from its proper owner. Butequally clearly reparation is not restitution. Reparation can onlyoccur after some losses or damage due to a prior wrongdoing. Butthough restitution can only occur after some loss or damage, that lossor damage need not be due to a prior wrongdoing. If loses hiswallet and finds it and returns it to , restitutionhas been made although no wrongdoing was committed. Further whilereparation is a right, though the right can be outweighed, restitutionis not always a right. If leaves ’s walletwhere it is, restitution has not been made, but it is not clear that aright was violated. I doubt that a person who loses things has a rightthat others find it for him. If keeps the wallet then againrestitution has not been made, and has a right that return it. But in that case has a right that returnit because he has a right to reparation and restitution can sometimesbe part of reparation. Some authors seem to think that oughtto return the wallet because otherwise he will have unjustly enrichedhimself at ’s expense. But it is not clear to me why hisunjust enrichment is a necessary condition for his obligation toreturn the wallet to . Even if the wallet is worthlessand is not unjustly enriched by keeping it, he has nobusiness holding on to it since it is not his property.


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