Robert Nozick

Philosopher Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia, published in 1974, cemented libertarianism’s place among the political philosophies taken seriously in academia. In it, Nozick defended the “minimal state”—what latter came to be called minarchism—and showed how it could become a “framework for utopias.”

But Nozick’s interests weren’t limited to political theory. He turned his remarkable mind to nearly every branch of philosophy in such wide-ranging works as Philosophical Explanations, The Examined Life, and Invariances: The Structure of the Objective World.


Minimal State

by David Conway on Aug 15, 2008

The minimal state solution is one wherein the state provides protection for the people in its domain but does nothing else.


Nozick, Robert (1938-2002)

by Ellen Frankel Paul on Aug 15, 2008

Nozick’s work, especially his book Anarchy, State, & Utopia, re-interested many people in political philosophy and libertarianism.



by Bryan Caplan on Aug 15, 2008

The most minimal proposed form of state organization, anarchism, is the philosophy of the absence of government.



by Wendy McElroy on Aug 15, 2008

Voluntarism argues that individuals should not be coerced into “socially beneficial” projects, but should act voluntarily to assist others.



by George H. Smith on Aug 15, 2008

A libertarian focus on equality mostly focuses on the notion of equal rights and justice systems must operate in a way that maintains these rights.


Rawls, John (1921-2002)

by Will Wilkinson on Aug 15, 2008

John Rawls was a political theorist who revived interest in the field. His work can be interpreted in support of some free-market ideas.



by Paul Dragos Aligica on Aug 15, 2008

What the state should look like varies even among libertarians.


Laissez-Faire Policy

by Bryan Caplan on Aug 15, 2008

Libertarians believe that laissez-faire policy, or the freest form of economy, provides the greatest net benefit to individuals and to society.


Rothbard, Murray (1926-1995)

by Brian Doherty on Aug 15, 2008

Murray Rothbard’s writings provided a detailed and systematic explanation of politics, society, and economics consistent with libertarian ideas.


Conservative Critique of Libertarianism

by Edward C. Feser on Aug 15, 2008

Edward C. Feser outlines some common arguments conservatives raise against libertarians and how those criticisms have affected both movements.


Liberalism, Classical

by David Conway on Aug 15, 2008

Classical liberalism typically refers to liberal philosophers in the 17th and 18th centuries, but whose ideas are carried on by libertarians today.


Capital Punishment

by Jarrett Decker on Aug 15, 2008

Also known as the death penalty, capital punishment has divided libertarians over the power of government and the justice of criminal procedures.


Nonaggression Axiom

by Roderick T. Long on Aug 15, 2008

The nonaggression axiom or principle mandates that individuals do not use physical force against others or their property, except for retaliation.


Kant, Immanuel (1724-1804)

by Ralf Bader on Aug 15, 2008

Immanuel Kant provided a systematic treatise of morality that, among other things, relied on reason, noninterference both of government and individuals, and peace.


Individual Rights

by Eric Mack on Aug 15, 2008

Individual rights function as guarantees of protection and entitlement to a morally granted domain, principally that of self-ownership and choice.


Rights, Natural

by Fred Miller on Aug 15, 2008

Natural rights are the basic rights held by all individuals by merits of being human; i.e., those rights that exist pre-government and may not be violated.