Anarchy, State, and Utopia
Winner of the 1975 National Book Award, this brilliant and widely acclaimed book is a powerful philosophical challenge to the most widely held political and social positions of our age--liberal, socialist, and conservative.
What people are saying - Write a review
In short, this book is significant but poorly argued and structured. It operates largely on the assumption that certain models of transaction will strike us as "intuitively" unethical. Which is to say, he side-steps the toughest job in ethics, which is to genuinely persuade a person to make a certain decision and just assumes we already will. In other words, he offers almost no argument at all.
The book is also poorly structured and reads more like a collection of essays and short stories than a thesis. It makes the point muddled and definitions get mixed up and vague. Add to this the increasing obscurity of his prose (guided by his formal logic background) and the book becomes almost unreadable.
The book is worth reading if you have an interest in the history of modern political writing. It is structured largely as a response to the far superior "Theory of Justice" by Rawls. It's important for a few reasons, then. First, it is something that has captured a section of the population's attention as of late. It's always valuable to understand the roots of current political movements. Second, it does provide a few significant and memorable challenges to Rawls' view. Though it is disjointed and poorly constructed, it does provide a few brilliant insights on Rawls' assumptions about people and their relationship to property etc. Finally, it is the best construction of this political model I've ever found. His ontology is far far more sensible than anything the pseudo-philosopher Ayn Rand rolled out.
Nozick himself was a respectable and brilliant philosopher when he was doing formal logic or epistemology. However, he really cannot do political philosophy worth a damn. Rumour has it that in his later years, he actually came to distance himself from this effort. It is historically significant, and provides some insight, but the book itself is a confusing, fallacious and lazy account of the state.
A classic work of genius!
Why StateofNature Theory ?
EXPLANATORY POLITICAL THEORY
The State of Nature
THE DOMINANT PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION
IS THE DOMINANT PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION A STATE?
HOW LIBERTY UPSETS PATTERNS
REDISTRIBUTION AND PROPERTY RIGHTS
LOCKES THEORY OF ACQUISITION
TERMS OF COOPERATION AND THE DIFFERENCE PRINCIPLE
THE ORIGINAL POSITION AND ENDRESULT PRINCIPLES
Moral Constraints and the State
MORAL CONSTRAINTS AND MORAL GOALS
WHY SIDE CONSTRAINTS?
CONSTRAINTS AND ANIMALS
THE EXPERIENCE MACHINE
UNDERDETERMINATION OF MORAL THEORY
WHAT ARE CONSTRAINTS BASED UPON?
THE INDIVIDUALIST ANARCHIST
Prohibition Compensation and Risk
PROHIBITION AND COMPENSATIONWhy StateofNature Theory ?
WHY EVER PROHIBIT?Why StateofNature Theory ?
RETRIBUTIVE AND DETERRENCE THEORIES OF PUNISHMENT
DIVIDING THE BENEFITS OF EXCHANGE
FEAR AND PROHIBITION
WHY NOT ALWAYS PROHIBIT?
THE PRINCIPLE OF COMPENSATION
THE PRINCIPLE OF FAIRNESS
HOW MAY THE DOMINANT AGENCY ACT?
THE DE FACTO MONOPOLY
THE INVISIBLEHAND EXPLANATION OF THE STATE
Further Considerations on the Argument for the State
BEHAVIOR IN THE PROCESS
THE RIGHT OF ALL TO PUNISH
Beyond the Minimal State?
HISTORICAL PRINCIPLES AND ENDRESULT PRINCIPLES
MACRO AND MICRO
NATURAL ASSETS AND ARBITRARINESS
THE POSITIVE ARGUMENT
THE NEGATIVE ARGUMENT
Equality Envy Exploitation Etc
EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY
SELFESTEEM AND ENVY
HAVING A SAY OVER WHAT AFFECTS YOU
THE NONNEUTRAL STATE
HOW REDISTRIBUTION OPERATES
CONSISTENCY AND PARALLEL EXAMPLES
THE MORETHANMINIMAL STATE DERIVED
A Framework for Utopia
THE MODEL PROJECTED ONTO OUR WORLD
DESIGN DEVICES AND FILTER DEVICES
THE FRAMEWORK AS UTOPIAN COMMON GROUND
COMMUNITY AND NATION
COMMUNITIES WHICH CHANGE
UTOPIAN MEANS AND ENDS
HOW UTOPIA WORKS OUT
UTOPIA AND THE MINIMAL STATE