Procedural rights and probabilities in the state of nature

I am reblogging Part 28 of my in-depth review of “Anarchy, State, and Utopia”, which covers the third subsection of Chapter 5 of ASU (pp. 96-101). There, Nozick identifies a major gap in natural law theory. (Suffice it to say, this is Nozick at his best!)

prior probability

New year … same ol’ blog, so let’s continue with our review of Anarchy, State, and Utopia. Nozick identifies a major gap in natural law theory in the third subsection of Chapter 5 (pp. 96-101). Nozick sums up this enormous gap or gaping hole in natural law in a single eloquent and memorable sentence (p. 101): “The natural rights tradition offers little guidance on precisely what one’s procedural rights are in a state of nature …” This is not only a frank and intellectually honest conclusion; it is a damning one, especially for those of us (myself included) who believe in natural law and in the natural rights tradition.

But why is Nozick’s frank and stark conclusion so significant? Because as Nozick notes on pp. 91-101 of ASU, the scope of the right to self-defense depends on what procedural rights one has. Although we might all agree that one…

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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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