Digression: Nozick’s relevance to legal theory

Robert Nozick > H.L.A. Hart

I am reblogging part 18 of my extended review of Robert Nozick’s “Anarchy, State, and Utopia.” The post below consists of a personal digression explaining why Nozick should be essential reading for legal scholars.

prior probability

Before we press on with our review of Nozick’s masterpiece Anarchy, State, and Utopia (ASU), we want to say a few words on why Nozick is worth reading and why we are so excited about Nozick’s ideas, especially Chapter 4 of ASU, despite the many criticisms of Nozick’s work we have made thus far. Recall from our previous post Nozick’s distinction between “Compensation Systems” (consisting of moral boundaries that can be crossed so long as compensation is paid) and “Prohibition Systems” (consisting of moral boundaries protected by strict prohibitions against any non-consensual boundary crossings). Doesn’t this distinction look a lot like the existing legal distinction between civil liability and criminal liability?! That, in a nutshell, is why we are so fascinated by ASU, for Nozick is actually trying to answer a hard theoretical and practical question in law: Why are some harmful acts crimes, while others are mere torts

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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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