Every property problem spans three distinct dimensions: number of owners, scope of each owner’s dominion, and asset design. These three basic dimensions can be traced back to Blackstone’s famous encapsulation of property law as the “sole and despotic dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in total exclusion of the right of any other individual in the universe.” Blackstone described the optimal dominion as absolute (“sole and despotic dominion”), the ideal number of owners as one (“a single man”), and the subject matter of property rights to be very broad (“over the external things of the world”). Blackstone’s description has proved a durable—albeit inaccurate—reference point for property theorists, who have directed their attention to each of the three dimensions identified by Blackstone— dominion, ownership, and asset—in descending order of importance.

In this Article, we argue that the idealized Blackstonian characterization led many subsequent scholars astray.