Paging Professor Nozick: C’mon man!

Thus far, we have reviewed the first eight (of eleven) subsections of Chapter 10 of ASU. Here, we review the ninth subsection (pp. 326-331), where Nozick finally gets around to addressing the elephant in the utopian room: who will resolve the inevitable disputes that will occur among the multiple utopias in Nozick’s imaginary world, and who will enforce exit rights in this world? Nozick thus acknowledges that two kinds of conflict will arise, even if we were to fully embrace and implement his utopian framework: (1) inter-utopia disputes, i.e. disputes between different communities, and (2) intra-utopia disputes, i.e. internal disputes within a particular community when members wish to leave in breach of their contractual or family obligations to that community.

It is here–well over 300 pages into his libertarian tome–that Nozick finally concedes that we will need a strong “central authority” (i.e. a state!!!) after all, thus refuting the central thesis of his book! (Frankly, to expect that this central authority will remain a “minimal state” begs belief.) Nevertheless, or perhaps because of this enormous and embarrassing internal contradiction, Nozick does not attempt to describe what this state or central authority would look like. He simply notes (p. 330): “What the best form of such a central authority is I would not wish to investigate here.” To this blatant cop out, all I can say is: c’mon man! In any case, we will review the last two subsections of Chapter 10–and thus conclude our review of ASU–in our next post.

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4 Responses to Paging Professor Nozick: C’mon man!

  1. Pingback: Conclusion of ASU | prior probability

  2. Kathy H says:

    Without a central state you have anarchy. There has to be a mechanism to protect the individual from those who would infringe on the rights of others. You need the central state but there has to be controls on the central state so it does not become the one that infringes on the rights.

  3. Kathy H says:

    That is a very good question!!

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