Anarchy, State, and Utopia Paperback – Nov 11 1977
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"...This book is the best piece of sustained analytical argument in political philosophy to have appeared for a very long time." Mind "...complex, sophisticated and ingenious." Economist --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
"...This book is the best piece of sustained analytical argument in political philosophy to have appeared for a very long time." Mind
"...complex, sophisticated and ingenious." Economist --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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In the first chapter, the author asks the reader to consider what he calls the "state-of-nature theory". This (Lockean) notion, although archaic in the author's view, allows one to answer whether a state would have to be invented if it did not exist, this being a classical question in liberal political philosophy. The chapter is a detailed justification for pursuing the state-of-nature theory. He holds to the premise that one can only understand the political realm by explaining it in terms of the nonpolitical. He thus begins with the Lockean state of nature concept and uses it to build a justification for the state in the rest of the book.
Most of the discussion in part 1 of the book revolves around the "dominant protective association" in a given geographical area. The author then builds on this in an attempt to justify from a moral perspective "the minimal state".Read more ›
If you take the time to look through every footnote, you'll realize that Nozick already knows all the objections and solutions, but leaves the reader to figure it out for themselves. He challenges the reader enormously, and he probably knew that there was no point in responding to critics who simply misunderstood his work.
This book should only be read by those with a background in philosophy; it will be confusing and labyrinthine to anyone else.
There are other good libertarianism books out now (like Michael Huemer's Problem of Political Authority), but those are just cogent and intelligent. Nozick is a higher caliber level philosopher (look at his other works, especially in Philosophical Explanations) and is a *genius*. ASU is written by a special and *brilliant* mind, and must be appreciated slowly.
The first time you read it (if you make it through) you might not be so impressed. But the more you learn elsewhere, turn back to ASU, and notice how much deeper your understanding becomes each time. You need incredible knowledge to even begin appreciating and truly understanding what is said here by Robert Nozick.
Robert Nozick (1939-2002) is one of the most respected and honored philosophers in the world.
In 1974, Nozick -- then a largely unknown thirty-five-year-old professor of philosophy at Harvard -- published Anarchy, State, and Utopia. The book startled and amazed reviewers, reached a huge audience, and immediately established Nozick's reputation as a major new figure in philosophy -- in fact, as an international intellectual celebrity.
Anarchy, State, and Utopia was a rigorous examination and defense of libertarianism. It was controversial, exciting, and -- most shockingly for a serious philosophical work -- a pleasure to read. And it is hard to overstate the book's importance to libertarianism.
As Laissez Faire Books editor Roy Childs wrote in 1989:
"Nozick's 'Anarchy, State, and Utopia' single-handedly established the legitimacy of libertarianism as a political theory in the world of academia. Indeed, it is not too much to say that without Nozick's book, there might not be a vital and growing academic libertarian movement today, making its way from university to university, from discipline to discipline, from nation to nation."
So it was all the more shocking (and tragic for libertarianism) when, in his 1989 book "The Examined Life," Nozick hinted he had rejected the libertarian philosophy he presented so brilliantly in "Anarchy, State and Utopia." Rumors begin flying that Nozick had abandoned libertarianism. Some even said he had embraced socialism!Read more ›
It's altogether a very impressive feat of logical, consistent argumentation from first principles. I find the book impeccable. I am not a libertarian after reading Nozick's book, but it has forced me to devote a lot of time and energy to working out why I'm not a libertarian. After all, who can disagree with the principle of 'don't do to others what you wouldn't want others to do to you'? The morality underlying Nozick's edifice is entirely acceptable, and yet as the argument progresses I found myself getting more and more uncomfortable. The problem has to do with which rights you might agree are fundamental and inviolable. Is the right to property, however acquired, fundamental to liberty? Nozick argues that it is. Without justice in property, there is no justice. Or Freedom. Or Liberty. Without the concept of private property, we are all potentially slaves to the State.
Concomitant with that proposition is an attitude which can be labelled 'individual atomism'. Nozick, in keeping with other libertarians like Von Mises, Rothbard and Hoppe believes that individuals are paramount, unique and indivisible. Nothing may impinge on them.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I could not finish this book. There were too many assumptions within it that had me questioning the ideas presented. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Eugene Balfour
Nozick's trenchant arguments for freedom emanate from moral conviction rather than economic theory. Life affirming to the core, they are framed in a delightful style leavened with... Read morePublished on July 18 2008 by Peter Uys
Nozick's classic is an outstanding book. One of its great virtues is its accessibility to the intelligent layman. Read morePublished on March 21 2004 by Greg Feirman
_Anarchy, State, and Utopia_ is considered a libertarian classic, but while it is interesting to read, its value is somewhat marginalized by lack of substance. Read morePublished on Feb. 2 2004 by Lord Chimp
Anarchy, State, and Utopia was published in the 1970s on the eve of Reaganism and Thatcherism. As the first libertarian treatise written by an analytic philosopher at a major... Read morePublished on Jan. 2 2004
The essence of Nozick's theory is that the justification for property historical, namely, whether it is acquired or transfered in accordance with moral princples, not an end-state... Read morePublished on Sept. 5 2003
Nozick's book is lucid, readable, and non-polemical. Even better, he's not out to start a personality cult around himself. Read morePublished on March 3 2003 by Kevin Bold
Towards the middle of this book, Professor Nozick declares: "Whatever arises from a just situation by just steps is itself just." This is, perhaps, the key idea of his book. Read morePublished on Jan. 17 2003 by Clifford Story
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