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Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State and Utopia is one of the works which dominates contemporary debate in political philosophy. Drawing on traditional assumptions associated with individualism and libertarianism, Nozick mounts a powerful argument for a minimal `nightwatchman' state and challenges the views of many contemporary philosophers, most notably John Rawls. Jonathan Wolff's new book is the first full-length study of Nozick's work and of the debates to which it has given rise. He 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. The book concludes by assessing Nozick's place in contemporary political philosophy.
Volume 11 of the Conservative and Libertarian Thinkers series focuses on Robert Nozick and his work on libertarianism.
This collection of essays is dedicated to the memory of the late Harvard philosopher Robert Nozick, who died in 2002. The publication of Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia in 1974 revived serious interest in natural rights liberalism, which, beginning in the latter half of the eighteenth century, had been eclipsed by a succession of antithetical political theories including utilitarianism, progressivism, and various egalitarian and collectivist ideologies. Some of our contributors critique Nozick's political philosophy. Other contributors examine earlier figures in the liberal tradition, most notably John Locke, whose Second Treatise of Government, published in the late seventeenth century, profoundly influenced the American founders. The remaining authors analyze natural rights liberalism's central doctrines.
Although best known for the hugely influential Anarchy, State and Utopia, Robert Nozick (1938-2002) eschewed the label 'political philosopher' because the vast majority of his writings and attention have focused on other areas. Indeed the breadth of Nozick's work is perhaps greater than that of any other contemporary philosopher. This book is the first to give full and proper discussion of Nozick's philosophy as a whole, including his influential work on the theory of knowledge, his notion of 'tracking the truth', his metaphysical writings on personal identity and free will, his evolutionary account of rationality, his varying treatments of Newcomb's paradox and his ideas on the meaning of life. Illuminating and informative, the book will be welcomed as an authoritative guide to Nozick's philosophical thinking.
Roger Scruton is one of the most widely respected philosophers of our time, whose often provocative views never fail to simulate debate. In Modern Philosophy he turns his attention to the whole of the field, from the philosophy of logic to aesthetics, and in so doing provides us with an essential and comprehensive guide to modern thinking.
What does the idea of taking 'the point of view of the universe' tell us about ethics? The great nineteenth-century utilitarian Henry Sidgwick used this metaphor to present what he took to be a self-evident moral truth: the good of one individual is of no more importance than the good of any other. Ethical judgments, he held, are objective truths that we can know by reason. The ethical axioms he took to be self-evident provide a foundation for utilitarianism. He supplements this foundation with an argument that nothing except states of consciousness have ultimate value, which led him to hold that pleasure is the only thing that is intrinsically good. Are these claims defensible? Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek and Peter Singer test them against a variety of views held by contemporary writers in ethics, and conclude that they are. This book is therefore a defence of objectivism in ethics, and of hedonistic utilitarianism. The authors also explore, and in most cases support, Sidgwick's views on many other key questions in ethics: how to justify an ethical theory, the significance of an evolutionary explanation of our moral judgments, the choice between preference-utilitarianism and hedonistic utilitarianism, the conflict between self-interest and universal benevolence, whether something that it would be wrong to do openly can be right if kept secret, how demanding utilitarianism is, whether we should discount the future, or favor those who are worse off, the moral status of animals, and what is an optimum population.

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