The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism
SAGE, Aug 15, 2008 - Philosophy - 623 pages
Recent years have seen the reemergence of libertarian thought as a significant force, both in the academy and in political life. As libertarian ideas have gained in prominence, so has the need for a standard reference work. Accordingly, this project has been initiated to serve as a useful introduction to and compendium of libertarian scholarship via a series of brief articles on the historical, sociological, and economic aspects of libertarianism within the broader context.
As a continuation of the older tradition of classical liberalism, libertarian thinking draws on a rich body of thought and scholarship. Contemporary libertarian scholars are continuing that tradition by making substantial contributions to such fields as philosophy, jurisprudence, economics, evolutionary psychology, political theory, and history. Notably, a number of economists who profess classical liberal or libertarian views have received the Nobel Prize in recent years, such as Vernon Smith. Robert Nozick′s book Anarchy, State, & Utopia sparked a tremendous debate among philosophers and has influenced moral and political theory. Evolutionary psychology has emerged as a new forum for the study of human nature, and much of that work has been pioneered by libertarian-leaning thinkers. Ronald Coase, Richard Posner, Richard Epstein, and others have revitalized the study of jurisprudence by focusing attention on incentives and on such grown institutions as property and common-law rules. Libertarians also have been active in political life, especially since the collapse of the communist states, which focused attention on problems of the formation and evolution of rights and legal institutions. The works of libertarian thinkers such as F. A. Hayek, Ayn Rand, and Milton Friedman are now available in dozens of languages, much as the works of Marx and Lenin were decades ago.
Within the entries contained in this encyclopedia, readers will find overviews of all this and more.
What people are saying - Write a review
I didn't know whether to give this book a 5 or a 1. So let me explain the poor rating I decided on.
It pretty much deserves a 5 because it does present the libertarian viewpoints on a wide variety of subjects.
It got a 1 because of a wide variety of misrepresentations of opposing viewpoints. It got a 1 because of serious failures in argumentation (reading the entry on "Democracy"). And it got a 1 because of sheer cluelessness (the entries on Thomas Hobbes and John Rawls stand out in my memory).
And I haven't read the entire book from cover to cover - I've been going from topic to topic depending on degree of interest, and of course, reading the entries that I did not expect (Hobbes, Rawls), but know of because I am familiar with their work.
So the Encyclopedia has been a bit of an Alice in Wonderland experience, but it certainly is reflective of contemporary libertarian thinking.
So as a source book for libertarian thinking, it is a good resource. As to the entries on non-libertarian thinkers, caveat lector.
This looks like a great read... too bad the scan is so low resolution. It's illegible.