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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.

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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.

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The Libertarian Case for a Basic Income

by Matt Zwolinski on Dec 5, 2013

Guaranteeing a minimum income to the poor is better than our current system of welfare, Zwolinski argues. And it can be justified by libertarian principles.

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Libertarianism and Pollution

by Matt Zwolinski on Apr 1, 2013

Does the non-aggression principle prohibit all pollution, including industry, driving, and flashlights?

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An Introduction to Locke’s Two Treatises

by Paul Meany on May 20, 2020

Locke wanted to prove that the world is not a mere amalgam of violence and arbitrary authority and that there is something that separates a legitimate from an illegitimate government.

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Libertarian Thinking on Redistribution

by David S. D’Amato on Aug 14, 2017

Though they don’t think there’s anything wrong with unequal wealth distribution per se, libertarians can and do criticize the unjust processes that can lead to inequality.

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Vice in The Virtue of Nationalism

by Akiva Malamet on Jul 30, 2019

Hazony’s views about the role of individuals and the nature of ethics mean that nations of any type are permitted to wage unjust war and impose sweeping domestic oppression. This nationalism should not guide our thinking today. 

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State

by Paul Dragos Aligica on Aug 15, 2008

What the state should look like varies even among libertarians.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Egoism in Rand and Stirner

by David S. D’Amato on Mar 11, 2014

Ayn Rand and Max Stirner argued different versions of egoism.

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Libertarian Social Justice

by Paul Crider on Sep 13, 2016

Crider argues that a better conception of social justice addresses oppression and equality of human dignity.

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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.

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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.

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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.