Robert Nozick: Property, Justice, and the Minimal State

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Stanford University Press, 1991 - Political Science - 168 pages
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Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia is one of the works which dominate contemporary debate in political philosophy. Drawing on traditional assumptions associated with individualism and libertarianism, Nozick mounts a powerful argument for a minimal "night-watchman" state and challenges the views of many contemporary philosophers, most notably John Rawls.

This book is the first full-length study of Nozick's work and of the debates to which it has given rise. Wolff situates Nozick's work in the context of current debates and examines the traditions which have influenced his thought. He then critically reconstructs the key arguments of Anarchy, State, and Utopia, focusing on Nozick's doctrine of rights, his derivation of the minimal state, and his Entitlement Theory of Justice. Wolff subjects Nozick's reasoning to rigorous scrutiny and argues that, despite the seductive simplicity of Nozick's libertarianism, it is, in the end, neither plausible nor wholly coherent. The book concludes by assessing Nozick's place in contemporary political philosophy.

 

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Contents

The Case for Anarchy
36
The Entitlement Theory of Justice
73
Nozick and Political Philosophy
118
Notes
143
Guide to Further Reading
153
Index
164
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About the author (1991)

Jonathan Wolff is a professor of philosophy and the director of the Centre for Philosophy, Justice and Health at university College London. He wrote a regular column for The Guardian in London, where he resides.

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