Two views of moral border crossings

I am reblogging part 16 of my in-depth analysis of Robert Nozick’s “Anarchy, State, and Utopia.” The post below reviews the second section of Chapter 4 of ASU (pp. 57-58), my favorite part of Nozick’s magnum opus thus far. Here, Nozick paints a geometrical picture of moral boundaries and sets the stage for developing a “reciprocal” view of moral boundary crossings — a novel view of morality that I will further explore in future posts in this series.

prior probability

The second subsection of Chapter 4 is only two pages long (pp. 57-58), but it deserves our careful attention for several reasons: (i) One reason is Nozick’s geometric visualization of morality. As Nozick puts it (p. 57): “an area in moral space” or moral boundary surrounds every individual. (ii) Another reason is that Nozick raises (yet again!) a fundamental question, an inquiry so important that it will take up the rest of Chapter 4. Specifically, Nozick poses a subtle query about the nature of this geometric moral boundary. Should the moral line surrounding each person be treated as an impenetrable wall — one that others are forbidden to transgress — or merely as a suggestion or default position — a moral line that others are permitted to step over so long as they compensate the person whose moral boundary has been crossed? (Before proceeding, it’s worth noting that this fundamental…

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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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