Begging the question with style: Anarchy, state, and utopia at thirty years

Social Philosophy and Policy 22 (1):221-254 (2005)
Abstract
At 30 years' distance, it is safe to say that Nozick's Anarchy, State and Utopia has achieved the status of a classic. It is not only the central text for all contemporary academic discussions of libertarianism; with Rawls's A Theory of Justice, it arguably frames the landscape of academic political philosophy in second half of 20th century. Many factors, obviously account for the prominence of the book. This paper considers one: the book's use of rhetoric to charm and disarm its readers, simultaneously establishing Nozick's credibility with readers, turning them on his ideological opponents, and helping his argument over some of its more serious substantive difficulties. Footnotesa I am grateful to Joe Bankman, Tom Grey, Pam Karlan, Ellen Frankel Paul, Seana Shiffrin, and Bob Weisberg for their very helpful comments on previous drafts of this essay. I am also grateful to my fellow contributors to this volume and to the participants in the Berkeley GALA and the UCLA Law and Philosophy Workshop, at which earlier versions of this essay were presented. All errors and indiscretions are mine alone.
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