Nozick on preemptive strikes

Happy Birthday, my beloved Sydjia! Today, I am reblogging my review of the second subsection of Chapter 6 of “Anarchy, State, and Utopia” in which Nozick explores the morality of preemptive strikes. (The post below is Part 33 of my extended review of Nozick.)

prior probability

The second subsection of Chapter 6 (pp. 126-130) anticipates the worldwide controversy over President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair’s ill-fated decision to invade Iraq in 2003, which in hindsight, turned out to be one of the worst and costliest decisions in history. Here, Nozick asks, when is a preemptive attack morally wrong, and when is such an attack morally justified?

Recall Nozick’s key question from our previous post: may I prevent others from joining a protection association in the state of nature if I know that their protection association will later prevent me from exercising my natural rights in the future? It turns out that this question and the preemptive war question are analytically the same! Nozick, however, draws an artificial and untenable distinction, invoking the “last clear chance” doctrine from tort law: if an act requires a subsequent decision to commit a wrong — i.e. if…

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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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