Anarchy, State, and Utopia

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Nozick,Robert. 1974. Anarchy, State, and Utopia. Basic Books.

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Description

(1974) Robert Nozick has written the most academically important attempt at libertarian philosophy. Starting with the fantasy of Natural Rights, it is rife with fallacies, misdirection and unstated assumptions.

Links

The Turing Test: Who Can Successfully Explain Robert Nozick? [More...]
Brad DeLong provides a succinct explanation of the major reason why nobody should take Robert Nozick seriously. This is ridicule done right.
Brian Barry on Robert Nozick [More...]
Excerpts from Brian Barry’s amusing review of Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia, from 1975. (Political Theory August 1975 3: 331-336) Can you say "spurious intellectual respectability"?
Does Nozick Have a Theory of Property Rights? [More...]
Barbara Fried points out numerous ways Robert Nozick abandons libertarian principles and resorts to utilitarianism in Anarchy, State and Utopia. Free download.
John Rawls's A THEORY OF JUSTICE: THE MUSICAL! [More...]
A delightful, musical burlesque of philosophy that pits John Rawls against his arch-nemeses Robert Nozick and Ayn Rand. Vimeo rental. Highly recommended. View the preview and read the Wikipedia page for a synopsis.
Reading Nozick: Essays on Anarchy, State, and Utopia (book)
An anthology of essays about Anarchy, State, and Utopia.
Robert Nozick: Property, Justice, and the Minimal State (book)
Summarizes and invents numerous philosophical refutations of Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia, a much parrotted work. Libertarians are generally unaware of the flaws and incompleteness of their "best" philosophy.
Yglesias 1: Robert Nozick Was A Smart Man -- Too Smart To Embrace The Doctrine Of Anarchy, State, and Utopia [More...]
The fact that these kind of “harcore” views do such a poor job of withstanding scrutiny that the author of their most academically influential defense backed away from them is something people ought to be aware of. See also part 2.
Yglesias 2: A Robert Nozick Followup Or; How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Quit Ideal Theory [More...]
[...] I think the reason his remarks on politics were so brief and his argument in favor of his favored position so threadbare is precisely because he didn’t think it was possible to draw many interesting policy conclusions from his philosophical position. See also part 1.

Quotations

Nozick suggests that if everybody at a basketball game volunteered to pay Wilt Chamberlain a small amount of money, the end result would be a vastly unequal income distribution, but since everybody had donated ‘voluntarily,’ there would be no problem regarding the justness of the outcome. But while it is true that everybody at the basketball volunteered to donate their own money, it is not true that they agreed to anyone else donating money, and it is certainly not true that they all agreed to everyone collectively donating a fortune. The principle is actually based on a subtle switch from individually voluntary choices to collectively voluntary ones, one which doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.
UnlearningEcon, "An FAQ for Libertarians"
Since many of the people who take a similar position [libertarianism] are narrow and rigid, and filled, paradoxically, with resentment at other freer ways of being, my now having natural responses which fit the theory puts me in some bad company.
Robert Nozick, "Anarchy, State, and UtopiaAnarchy, State, and Utopia"
It will be implausible to view improving an object as giving full ownership to it, if the stock of unowned objects that might be improved is limited. For an object’s coming under one person's ownership changes the situation of all others. Whereas previous they were at liberty (in Hohfeld’s sense) to use the object, they now no longer are.
Robert Nozick, "Anarchy, State, and UtopiaAnarchy, State, and Utopia"
If I own a can of tomato juice and spill it in the sea so that its molecules (made radioactive, so I can check this) mingle evenly throughout the sea, do I thereby come to own the sea, or have I foolishly dissipated my tomato juice?
Robert Nozick, "Anarchy, State, and UtopiaAnarchy, State, and Utopia"