David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In his book, Anarchy , State, and Utopia, Robert Nozick argues that the only state that can be justified is the minimal state, a state limited to providing protection for all its citizens. Nozick explains how a minimal state could naturally develop from a state of nature without violating any person's rights, allowing for its justification. Whereas, any more extensive state would violate people's rights in performing its various roles, causing such a state to be unjustified. In this thesis, I demonstrate that Nozick's claims about the justification of states may be false. I argue that in order for Nozick's claims to be sustained one must accept some critical assumptions he has made concerning the minimal and more extensive states. Yet, I argue, even if one accepts such assumptions, Nozick's claims may still be false. For, depending upon how one chooses to identify a state, the state that Nozick believes he has justified may actually be considered a more extensive state. In his book, Nozick does not examine how a state, limited to protection, will try to fulfill its single function of protection. I argue that how a state fulfills that single function may cause it to be considered a more extensive state. Therefore, Nozick's claim that no more extensive state than the minimal state is justified would be false.
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