Is it morally justified to steal a thing from someone who also stole it?

Great question about a paradoxical matter. In ordinary cases, if I stole something it does not become my property in the sense that I have rightful ownership of it; I may have it as a possession (something I possess) but I lack possessory rights to exclude others from taking it or being compensated if someone takes it without my consent. So, when someone sets out to take it from me, they are not involved in a classic case of robbery --they are, instead, perpetuating the alienation of the thing stolen from the (presumably) proper, original ownership. So, if I steal your boat, and someone (Jones) then takes the boat from me I do not have a right to claim damages and compel Jones (legally or morally) to return it to me, but you retain the right to blame both myself and Jones for the original and then perpetuation of the theft.

There might be an odd case to consider: what if I stole your boat and you (as it were) stole it back? I would say that was not a case of your stealing from me; it was, rather, your recovering a loss.

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