Review of Anarchy, State, and Utopia (part 1)

Back in the fall of 2017 and extending off-and-on into the summer of 2018, I wrote up and posted to this blog a page-by-page, chapter-by-chapter review of Robert Nozick’s work “Anarchy, State, and Utopia,” one of the all-time most influential books of political philosophy–and deservedly so! In honor of Nozick’s birthday (16 November 1938), and to commemorate the upcoming 20th anniversary of his death (23 January 2002), I will be re-posting in the days and weeks ahead my in-depth review of Nozick’s classic work. Here is a revised version of Part 1 of my 2017/18 review, “Nozick’s Premise“:

Nozick’s preface in “Anarchy, State, and Utopia” begins with this famous sentence: “Individuals have rights and there are things no person or group may do to them (without violating their rights).” This Kantian premise is an attractive and appealing one, but is Nozick’s opening gambit simply a sophisticated case of circular reasoning or question begging? At a minimum, Nozick will have to answer the following questions: (1) What do these rights consist of? (2) What remedies are we entitled to when our rights are violated? (3) Who decides when our rights have been violated? (4) Why are violations of our rights, however such rights are defined or enforced, wrong? And (5) are there any exceptions to Nozick’s premise; i.e. when, if ever, can we violate someone else’s rights? In short, Nozick has a lot of explaining to do!

I will further explore Nozick’s thought-provoking preface in my next post …

John Rawls and Robert Nozick could not agree more the fundamentals of  liberalism | Utopia, you are standing in it!

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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