Nozick refutes his own theory!

Unwittingly, Nozick contradicts himself and refutes his own theory of the state in the fourth subsection of Chapter 6 (pp. 133-137)! Recall Nozick’s previous claims from Chapter 5 of  Anarchy, State, and Utopia. In case your memory needs some refreshing, we will break down his main claims here:

  • That a territory’s dominant protection association will eventually become a state or state-like entity;
  • That the dominant protection agency in each territory will prohibit non-clients from enforcing their rights in their dealings with the clients of the protection agency;
  • That the dominant protection agency will compensate these non-clients for this violation of their rights;
  • That this compensation will be in the form of in kind protection services;
  • That this process from protection agency to state will occur without anyone’s natural rights being violated, since non-clients will receive compensation.

Now, however, in the fourth subsection of Chapter 6, Nozick will not only contradict himself; he will also end up self-refuting his own theory of the state! How? By acknowledging — in an extended digression on the problem of double jeopardy — that sometimes victims of harms do not wish to be compensated for such harms, either in money or in kind, and by openly conceding as follows (p. 137): “As the person to whom [an] enforceable obligation is owed, the victim seems the appropriate party to determine precisely how [his natural rights are] to be enforced.” If these propostions are true, then why don’t they apply to non-clients of the state/dominant protection agency? For my part, I won’t gloat, as I’ve already leveled these same criticisms many times against Nozick’s unrealistic and speculative theory of the state in previous blog posts, such as this one on 1/5/18. In any case, stay tuned — I will conclude my review of Chapter 6 of ASU in my next post …

Image result for self refuting

About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
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1 Response to Nozick refutes his own theory!

  1. Reblogged this on prior probability and commented:

    Part 35 of my epic review of Robert Nozick’s “Anarchy, State, and Utopia,” which covers the fourth subsection of Chapter 6 (pp. 133-137) and which I am reblogging below, identifies an internal contradiction in Nozick’s theory of the state of nature.

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