The Squirrel and the State

The Independent Review 14 (3):377-387 (2010)
Robert Nozick famously argued that acknowledging that individuals have certain fundamental natural or prepolitical rights to their lives and property does not preclude the legitimacy of the state, as the individualist anarchist would claim. The reason is that “a state would arise from anarchy. . . even though no one intended this or tried to bring it about, by a process which need not violate anyone’s rights”. Many doubts have been raised about some of the claims that Nozick needs to make to reach this conclusion. Doubts have also been raised about the normative relevance of that conclusion for the moral evaluation of states that did not arise in such a way. But even if all these doubts were unfounded, Nozick’s argument falls short of justifying what, according to the anarchist challenge, is in need of justification. This shortcoming is significant because it reminds us about the true nature of the problem that the state poses for any philosophical outlook grounded on a theory of natural, libertarian rights.
Keywords Nozick  political legitimacy  terminological disputes
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,351
External links
  •   Try with proxy.
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    Helga Varden (2009). Nozick's Reply to the Anarchist. Law and Philosophy 28 (6):585 - 616.
    John Hasnas (2005). Toward a Theory of Empirical Natural Rights. Social Philosophy and Policy 22 (1):111-147.

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index


    Total downloads

    17 ( #82,007 of 1,088,374 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    1 ( #69,601 of 1,088,374 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature

    Start a new thread
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.