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Return to Book Page. Anarchy, State, and Utopia by Robert Nozick. In this brilliant and widely acclaimed book, Robert Nozick challenges the most commonly held political and social positions of our age—liberal, socialist, and conservative. It won the U. National Book Award in category Philosophy and Religion, has been translated into 11 languages, and was named one of the " most influential books since the war" — by the In this brilliant and widely acclaimed book, Robert Nozick challenges the most commonly held political and social positions of our age—liberal, socialist, and conservative.
National Book Award in category Philosophy and Religion, has been translated into 11 languages, and was named one of the " most influential books since the war" — by the U. Times Literary Supplement. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title.
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Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Anarchy, State, and Utopia. Sep 18, Robbie Leslie rated it it was amazing. This book had a huge impact on me when I read it at the age of 22 as a post-grad student of political philosophy. It is really only know, at the age of 44, that I realise quite how much Bob Nozick's master-work has shaped my thinking on the state, politics and society over the past 22 years.
I came to the book with preconceptions - Nozick was neo-liberal and Hayekian. I was neither. I was a committed socialist with anarchist leanings a huge dichotomy there which I didn't see at the time! So I wanted to hate it, rubbish it, show it up as the propaganda of the 'running dogs of capitalism'! I couldn't! I got my hands on a pristine copy from the university bookshop I still have it, though it's now well-thumbed!
The book was beautifully written, incredibly accessible to the lay-reader a big plus for me, have you ever tried reading Jurgen Haabermas?!? I didn't want to agree with his arguments but I couldn't help but admire them! I did write a 'counter-blast' essay based on the premiss that Marx could not be criticised within the paradigm of 'liberal thinking' - ie. To put it bluntly Marx saw 'Justice' as a bourgeois concept and indeed as a con.
My essay was quite well received but it made me feel queasy, and the more I thought about it the queasier I felt. So, thanks to Bob Nozick I've abandoned Marx, gone pretty much cool on socialism and come close to embracing the minimal state - it has taken me 22 years to get there mind!
View 2 comments. Mar 09, Josh rated it did not like it. Absolutely atrocious. Logical flaws, conceptual circles, as well as just completely unaware of how ridiculous it sounds. For example, taxation is equal to slavery because you're being forced into something, but being forced to work in a sweatshop or starve is not a violation of freedom, in fact it's voluntary.
View all 3 comments. Jul 29, Chris Meyers rated it it was ok. ASU is a classic work of political philosophy and is widely considered to be the definitive text defending libertarian political theory, which claims that the only justifiable form of political society is one with minimal government and laissez-faire economic system.
The proper role of the state is only to protect the basic negative rights of life, liberty, and property. Any other goods or services should be provided by private actions business or donations , and any redistribution of wealth ASU is a classic work of political philosophy and is widely considered to be the definitive text defending libertarian political theory, which claims that the only justifiable form of political society is one with minimal government and laissez-faire economic system.
Any other goods or services should be provided by private actions business or donations , and any redistribution of wealth is a violation of property rights.
Robert Nozick is a brilliant philosopher. The book is clearly written and contains many brilliant arguments and insightful challenges to opponents. Nevertheless, the overall view is highly implausible and supported by very weak arguments. Nozick begins with a thought experiment involving a Lockean state of nature—one composed of morally decent people who recognize and for the most part respect absolute natural rights of life, liberty, and property.
Each person also has the right to defend himself in any way necessary and to punish anyone who violates her rights. With no state, problems will arise. First, people will not always have the strength or resources to protect themselves.
Secondly, the right to punish is likely to lead to problems. Since each person would be judge in her own case, punishments might be excessive, which could lead to retaliation escalating into blood-feuds. Nozick speculates that people in this state would agree to band together for their own protection. But such associations would be weak and unreliable. His solution? Private businesses will offer protective services for a fee. People are free to purchase or not purchase protective policies, and the protective agencies will only protect clients and will punish any who violate the rights of their clients.
Eventually one protective agency will come to dominate and form a natural monopoly. This will evolve into a de facto state. All of the members of this state will join freely and voluntarily pay for the services.
So there will be fees instead of taxes. Nozick defends a laissez-faire form of distribution and argues that any form of redistribution, through taxation and entitlement programs, violates an absolute right to property and amounts to forced labor.
Rightful ownership can only come from 1 original acquisition by appropriating previously un-owned objects, 2 free transfer, including trade and gifts, and 3 rectification, whereby we compensate those whose rights have been violated. First, in his hypothetical state of nature, where are these private businesses supposed to come from? And what is to keep these protective agencies from becoming private goon squads? Then there are the obvious general problems with libertarianism and minimal government that Nozick ignores.
Though he seems to know a great deal about economics, he avoids familiar criticisms such as that in a minimal state there would be no public goods—no public schools, no fire department, no libraries, and no infrastructure. At one point he even asks, "May the majority voters in a small village pass an ordinance against things that they find offensive being done on the public streets? They could only exist if some kind soul spent his personal wealth on building and maintaining the streets and then kindly let everyone use them for free.
So, for example, if I happen across a stranded motorist out in the desert who will likely die of thirst without assistance, I could give her a ride to town in exchange for her agreeing to be my slave for ten years. Such an exchange would be fair according to Nozick. He starts with the now famous Wilt Chamberlain argument.
Suppose we achieve whatever end-state distribution we consider ideal. Then a bunch of sports fans voluntarily pay to see Wilt Chamberlain play. As a result, each of these fans has a little less money, and Mr. Chamberlain has a lot more. If the distribution was ideal before the game, then this new distribution would be less than ideal.
Ultimately, the only way to maintain ideal distribution would be to prevent any exchanges, even voluntary ones.
However, there are many ideal end-state distributions that are flexible enough to allow for voluntary exchanges. Consider for example a loose equality according to which the richest person has no more than five times the wealth of the poorest person. This would allow for every voluntary exchange except for those that increase the wealth of the richest or decrease the wealth of the poorest.
Anarchy, State, and Utopia
It won the US National Book Award in category Philosophy and Religion ,  has been translated into 11 languages, and was named one of the " most influential books since the war" — by the UK Times Literary Supplement. In opposition to A Theory of Justice by John Rawls , and in debate with Michael Walzer ,  Nozick argues in favor of a minimal state , "limited to the narrow functions of protection against force, theft, fraud, enforcement of contracts, and so on. To support the idea of the minimal state, Nozick presents an argument that illustrates how the minimalist state arises naturally from anarchy and how any expansion of state power past this minimalist threshold is unjustified. Nozick's entitlement theory , which sees humans as ends in themselves and justifies redistribution of goods only on condition of consent, is a key aspect of Anarchy, State, and Utopia. The book also contains a vigorous defense of minarchist libertarianism against more extreme views, such as anarcho-capitalism in which there is no state and individuals must contract with private companies for all social services. Nozick argues that anarcho-capitalism would inevitably transform into a minarchist state, even without violating any of its own non-aggression principles , through the eventual emergence of a single locally dominant private defense and judicial agency that it is in everyone's interests to align with, because other agencies are unable to effectively compete against the advantages of the agency with majority coverage. Therefore, even to the extent that the anarcho-capitalist theory is correct, it results in a single, private, protective agency which is itself a de facto "state".
Anarquia, Estado y Utopia
He rose to eminence in the last quarter of the twentieth century as a creative philosopher who has expressed philosophical truths beyond the reach of analytic argumentation. Honed in the technical intricacies of analytic philosophy, he has nonetheless restored meditation to its proper place in the philosophical canon. Nozick's first book, Anarchy, State and Utopia initially published in , won the National Book Award in and became the fundamental text of the Libertarian movement. It covers a wide range of basic philosophical topics: the question why there is something rather than nothing, the identity of the self, knowledge and skepticism, free will, the foundation of ethnics, and the meaning of life.
Anarquia Utopia by Robert Nozick
ISBN 13: 9789681626495