Overview of Chapter 9 of ASU

Chapter 9 of Anarchy, State, and Utopia (ASU), the penultimate chapter of this classic book, is titled “Demoktesis.” Spoiler alert: according to Wikipedia, demoktesis is a thought-experiment designed to show the incompatibility of democracy (one-man, one-vote) with libertarian theory and with Nozick’s entitlement theory, i.e. Nozick’s defense of the minimal state. So, suffice it to say, we are headed into some real deep waters here! Nozick’s thought-experiment is divided into three subsections as follows:

  • Consistency and parallel examples (pp. 277-279)
  • The more-than-minimal-state derived (pp. 280-292)
  • Hypothetical entities (pp. 292-294)

Nozick begins Chapter 9 by asking, “Is there some way to continue our story of the origin of the (minimal) state from the state of nature to arrive, via only legitimate steps which violate no one’s rights, at something more closely resembling a modern state?” (ASU, p. 276, emphasis in original, citation omitted.) In other words, if Nozick’s minimal state is the only type of state that is morally justified, why does it exist nowhere on earth? We will jump into Chapter 9 in our next blog post.

Image result for the state nozick
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