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Anarchist philosophy represents a diverse set of viewpoints that are sceptical of political authority and power. Anarchism can be framed as purely negative theoretical idea, i.e. a rejection of the legitimacy of political authority. Adherents of this view, sometimes called ‘philosophical anarchism’, seek to show that arguments for the legitimacy of political authority are unsuccessful. This philosophical anarchism is nevertheless compatible, some suggest, with still maintaining that we are sometimes or indeed often morally justified in conforming with or upholding various state activities, e.g. following the criminal law or agreeing to redistributive taxation. Anarchism can also refer to various political positions that offer a positive vision of how humans should structure their interactions and the ideals to which we should aspire when we associate with our fellows. A broad distinction can be drawn between left-anarchism and anarcho-capitalism. Left-anarchism refers to a diverse family of views, many of which were historically influential as an ideological competitor to state-centric socialism and communism, that espouse distributive equality, common ownership of resources, and/or duties of reciprocity. A guiding preoccupation within left-anarchism explores how to secure social cooperation without leading to the type of domination that they claim is found under statist systems. Thus, left-anarchists broadly reject hierarchical relationships and emphasise relating to one another as free and equal individuals (a notion that has recently been revived in mainstream political philosophy under the guise of social or relational egalitarianism). Anarcho-capitalists, by contrast, place greater emphasis on the individual and negative liberty, focusing on how we can structure cooperation primarily through the mechanism of free market exchange. This emphasis distinguishes the anarcho-capitalist from the left-anarchist, as such negative freedom can be inimical to the collectivist ideals of left-anarchism. For example, anarcho-capitalists uphold the right of individuals to harness their natural talents and strike bargains in such a way as might eventually lead to considerable distributive inequality or the creation of various types of hierarchy. Theorists within this tradition are, among other things, concerned with arguing that market-based systems can efficiently solve classic problems traditionally addressed by the state, such as providing security, creating mutually desirable infrastructures, and solving various types of collective action problem.

Beyond these views, a diverse collection of thinkers develop anarchism in other directions, with varying degrees of compatibility with the positions outlined above. For example, some develop an egoistic version of anarchism as means of pursuing individual perfection, some view anarchism as a method for living in ecological harmony, and others, especially following the Tolstoyan tradition, see anarchism as the natural extension of their religious views.

Key works For scepticism about political authority, see Simmons 1979 or Huemer 2013. For a classic manifesto of left-anarchism, see Kropotkin 2015 or Proudhon 1994 [1840] (who coined the term 'anarchy' as an ideology). Individualistic anarchy is famously defended by Stirner unknown. For recent work on social egalitarianism, see Fourie et al 2015. Anarchism is usefully contrasted with both left and right-libertarian views that are sceptical of true anarchism, see Otsuka 2003 and Nozick 1974. For ecological anarchism, see Bookchin 1982
Introductions See Lefkowitz 2006 on the duty to obey the law. See Chapter 1 of Chomsky 2014 for a readable introduction to anarchist themes. Kropotkin 1910 provides synoptic discussion of anarchism.
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  1. Why Not Anarchism?Jason Brennan & Christopher Freiman - forthcoming - Sage Publications: Politics, Philosophy and Economics.
    Politics, Philosophy & Economics, Ahead of Print. Recent debates over ideal theory have reinvigorated interest in the question of anarchy. Would a perfectly just society need—or even permit—a state? Ideal anarchists such as Jason Brennan, G.A. Cohen, Christopher Freiman, and Jacob Levy argue that strict compliance with justice obviates the need for a state. Ideal statists such as David Estlund, Gregory Kavka, and John Rawls think that coercive political institutions serve indispensable functions even in ideal conditions. This paper defends ideal (...)
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  2. Why Not Anarchism?Jason Brennan & Christopher Freiman - forthcoming - Politics, Philosophy and Economics:1470594X2210980.
    Politics, Philosophy & Economics, Ahead of Print. Recent debates over ideal theory have reinvigorated interest in the question of anarchy. Would a perfectly just society need—or even permit—a state? Ideal anarchists such as Jason Brennan, G.A. Cohen, Christopher Freiman, and Jacob Levy argue that strict compliance with justice obviates the need for a state. Ideal statists such as David Estlund, Gregory Kavka, and John Rawls think that coercive political institutions serve indispensable functions even in ideal conditions. This paper defends ideal (...)
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  3. 12 Banality and Iniquity: Some Objections to Anarchism.Rossella Di Leo - 2021 - In Giovanna Gioli (ed.), Thinking as Anarchists: Selected Writings From Volontá. Edinburgh University Press. pp. 232-242.
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  4. Anarchism: A Conceptual Approach.Benjamin Franks & Nathan Jun - 2018 - Routledge.
    Anarchism is by far the least broadly understood ideology and the least studied academically. Though highly influential, both historically and in terms of recent social movements, anarchism is regularly dismissed. Anarchism: A Conceptual Approach is a welcome addition to this growing field, which is widely debated but poorly understood. Occupying a distinctive position in the study of anarchist ideology, this volume ¿ authored by a handpicked group of established and rising scholars ¿ investigates how anarchists often seek to sharpen their (...)
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  5. Anarchism and Authority: A Philosophical Introduction to Classical Anarchism.Paul McLaughlin - 2007 - Routledge.
    Examining the political theory of anarchism from a philosophical and historical perspective, Paul McLaughlin relates anarchism to the fundamental ethical and political problem of authority. The book pays particular attention to the authority of the state and the anarchist rejection of all traditional claims made for the legitimacy of state authority, the author both explaining and defending the central tenets of the anarchist critique of the state.
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  6. The Anarchist Way to Socialism: Elisee Reclus and Nineteenth-Century European Anarchism.Marie Fleming - 1979 - Routledge.
    First published in 1979. Elisée Reclus was an important anarchist theorist whose contribution to the radical direction which the European anarchist movement assumed in the late nineteenth century, has been largely neglected by scholars. This study of his thought provides a basis for a general re-assessment of European anarchism, by contributing to an understanding of important dimensions of theory and practice, which previously have not been well understood. Amongst the aspects examined are the anarchist conception of the state, the nature (...)
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  7. Anarchism (Encyclopedia Britannica).Peter Kropotkin - 1910 - Encyclopedia Britannica.
    Synoptic overview of anarchism by Kropotkin.
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  8. On Anarchism.Noam Chomsky - 2014 - Penguin.
    What is Anarchism? Anarchism is a radical scepticism about structures of domination, authority and hierarchy throughout human life, from the patriarchal family to imperialism. The anarchist asks those in power to prove their claims to authority - and argues that if their systems can't be justified then they ought to be dismantled and replaced by something more free and just. In On Anarchism, Noam Chomsky - author, activist and anarchist - offers a vital overview of the meanings of anarchism and (...)
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  9. The Conquest of Bread.Peter Kropotkin - 2015 - Penguin.
    This edition has a large, easy-to-read font. Peter Kropotkin was born a Russian prince whose father owned 1,200 serfs. As he aged, he came to hate the inequality in his society, and renounced his royal title. He was imprisoned and spent decades in exile for his views, which he has laid out in this book. He points out the flaws inherent in feudalism and capitalism, and how our current economic system creates poverty and scarcity even though there are enough resources (...)
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  10. The Anarchist Diet: Vegetarianism and Individualist Anarchism in Early 20th-Century France.Carl Tobias Frayne - 2021 - Journal of Animal Ethics 11 (2):83-96.
    This article uncovers the historical connection between anarchism and vegetarianism in France. In doing so, it restores the significance of a little-known branch of the libertarian movement, namely individualist anarchism. Individualist anarchists sought to transform themselves by applying anarchist principles in their daily lives instead of waiting for a future revolution. Retracing the thoughts and deeds of these forgotten pioneers of the ecological and animal liberation movements, I show that vegetarianism is a striking illustration of anarcho-individualist prefigurative politics and that (...)
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  11. On the Edge of Anarchism: A Realist Critique of Philosophical Anarchism.Zoltán Gábor Szűcs - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-24.
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  12. Chapter 3 Absolutely Deterritorial: Deleuze, Indigeneity and Ethico-Aesthetic Anarchism as Strategy.Andrew Stones - 2019 - In Chantelle Gray Van Heerden & Aragorn Eloff (eds.), Deleuze and Anarchism. Edinburgh University Press. pp. 47-64.
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  13. Chapter 2 No Gods! No Masters!: From Ontological to Political Anarchism.Thomas Nail - 2019 - In Chantelle Gray Van Heerden & Aragorn Eloff (eds.), Deleuze and Anarchism. Edinburgh University Press. pp. 31-46.
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  14. Chapter 1 Crowned Anarchy-Anarchy-Anarchism – Countereffectuating Deleuze and Guattari’s Politics.Aragorn Eloff - 2019 - In Chantelle Gray Van Heerden & Aragorn Eloff (eds.), Deleuze and Anarchism. Edinburgh University Press. pp. 9-30.
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  15. Anarchism in Deleuze.Jernej Kaluža - 2019 - Deleuze and Guattari Studies 13 (2):267-292.
    In this article, we argue that Deleuze's philosophy could be understood as anarchistic in a specifically defined meaning. The imperative of immanence of thought, which we explicate mainly through the reading of Deleuze's Spinoza, on the one hand establishes indivisibility between theory and practice and on the other hand paradoxically orders disobedience. We argue for a thought that is immanent, adequate with its inner practice, for thought that cannot be forced. That is the basis on which we combine the reading (...)
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  16. 3. On Property and the Philosophy of Poverty: Agamben and Anarchism.Simone Bignall - 2016 - In Daniel McLoughlin (ed.), Agamben and Radical Politics. Edinburgh University Press. pp. 49-70.
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  17. All Things Are Nothing to Me: The Unique Philosophy of Max Stirner.Jacob Blumenfeld - 2018 - London, UK: Zero Books.
    Max Stirner’s The Unique and Its Property (1844) is the first ruthless critique of modern society. In All Things are Nothing to Me, Jacob Blumenfeld reconstructs the unique philosophy of Max Stirner (1806–1856), a figure that strongly influenced—for better or worse—Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Emma Goldman as well as numerous anarchists, feminists, surrealists, illegalists, existentialists, fascists, libertarians, dadaists, situationists, insurrectionists and nihilists of the last two centuries. -/- Misunderstood, dismissed, and defamed, Stirner’s work is considered by some to be the (...)
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  18. Deleuze and Anarchism.Chantelle Gray Van Heerden & Aragorn Eloff (eds.) - 2019 - Edinburgh University Press.
    This provocative study forges new and creative connections between Deleuzian philosophy and contemporary film studies.
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  19. Anarchism mainstreamed? On recent trends, challenges and opportunities in anarchist scholarship.Giuseppe Maglione - forthcoming - Contemporary Political Theory:1-8.
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  20. Domination, the State and Anarchism.James Humphries - 2021 - In Klaus Mathis & Luca Langensand (eds.), Dignity, Diversity, Anarchy. Stuttgart, Germany: pp. 143-168.
    Anarchists standardly critique the state for being illegitimate, and for being dominating in some sense. Often these criticisms come as a bundle: the state is illegitimate because it is dominating. But there are various stories we might tell about the connection between the two; domination makes consent impossible, domination means that the state fails to meet its own justification for existing (or for claiming authority), and so on. I suggest that we should sidestep concerns about consent: in part because it (...)
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  21. Anarchism and the Environmental Crisis.Peter Booth - 1994 - Lancaster University.
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  22. Nozick.Helga Varden - 2015 - In Cambridge Rawls Lexicon. pp. 561-564.
    Short lexicon entry on the Rawls-Nozick discussions.
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  23. Kurdish Liberty.Jason Dockstader & Rojîn Mûkrîyan - forthcoming - Philosophy and Social Criticism.
    Philosophy & Social Criticism, Ahead of Print. Most politically minded Kurds agree that their people need liberty. Moreover, they agree they need liberation from the domination they suffer from the four states that divide them: Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. What is less certain is the precise nature of this liberty. A key debate that characterizes Kurdish political discourse is over whether the liberty they seek requires the existence of an independent Kurdish nation-state. Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed intellectual leader of (...)
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  24. Kurdish Liberty.Jason Dockstader & Rojîn Mûkrîyan - forthcoming - Sage Journals: Philosophy and Social Criticism.
    Philosophy & Social Criticism, Ahead of Print. Most politically minded Kurds agree that their people need liberty. Moreover, they agree they need liberation from the domination they suffer from the four states that divide them: Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. What is less certain is the precise nature of this liberty. A key debate that characterizes Kurdish political discourse is over whether the liberty they seek requires the existence of an independent Kurdish nation-state. Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed intellectual leader of (...)
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  25. How the Calvin Hayes Review is Wrong About Libertarianism.J. C. Lester - manuscript
    The review cites the “Open Society” twice in its title—and is clearly pro-Popperian—but then fails to mention the fourteen-point list, and surrounding discussion, that explicitly compares Popper’s critical rationalism with anarcho-libertarianism (strong similarities) and liberal democracy (strong dissimilarities); EfL, pp.135-142. If the review had engaged more closely with the arguments of EfL and been more informed by the relevant social scientific literature, then it would probably have found the anarcho-libertarian case to be far more robust and realistic than such a (...)
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  26. The Void of Thought and the Ambivalence of History: Chaadaev, Bakunin, and Fedorov.Kirill Chepurin & Alex Dubilet - 2021 - In Panayiota Vassilopoulou & Daniel Whistler (eds.), Thought: A Philosophical History. New York City, New York, USA: pp. 293-306.
    This paper cuts across three nineteenth-century Russian thinkers—Pyotr Chaadaev, Mikhail Bakunin and Nikolai Fedorov—to reconstruct a speculative trajectory that seeks to think an ungrounding and delegitimation of the (Christian-modern) world and its logics of violence, domination, and exclusion. In Chaadaev, Russia becomes a territory of nothingness—an absolute exception from history, tradition, and memory, without attachment or relation to world history. Ultimately, Chaadaev affirms this atopic void in its immanence, as capable of creating immanently from itself a common future. Bakunin is (...)
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  27. Unchaining Solidarity and Mutual Aid: Reflections on Anarchism with Catherine Malabou.Catherine Malabou, Daniel Rosenhaft Swain, Petr Kouba & Petr Urban (eds.) - 2021 - Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
    The concept of mutual aid is central to the anarchist tradition, but also a source of controversy. This book’s intervention is to consider solidarity and mutual aid at the intersection of politics and biology, developing out of the work of Catherine Malabou.
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  28. Freedom as Critique: Foucault Beyond Anarchism.Karsten Schubert - 2020 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 47 (5):634-660.
    Foucault’s theory of power and subjectification challenges common concepts of freedom in social philosophy and expands them through the concept of ‘freedom as critique’: Freedom can be defined as the capability to critically reflect upon one’s own subjectification, and the conditions of possibility for this critical capacity lie in political and social institutions. The article develops this concept through a critical discussion of the standard response by Foucault interpreters to the standard objection that Foucault’s thinking obscures freedom. The standard response (...)
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  29. Republicanism and Domination by Capital.Mark Losoncz & Szilárd János Tóth - 2021 - In Vesna Stanković Pejnović (ed.), Beyond Neoliberalism and Capitalism. Belgrád, Szerbia: pp. 141-156..
    This article is a review of the contemporary ‘leftist’ republican project. The project stands on two legs, and we examine them both in turn. The first leg is a novel reading of history. This reading suggests, on the one hand that, contrary to some popular assumptions, republicanism does have a leftist, even a radical stream. But on the other hand, it also suggests that several authors and movements that did not self-identify as republicans actually did, in fact, employ a characteristically (...)
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  30. Escape From Philosophy: A Rejoinder to the Thom Brooks Reply.J. C. Lester - manuscript
    The reply begins by stating that responses to reviews of EfL are “taking criticism of their philosophical claims as personal attacks” and resorting to “hysterical ad hominems”. On the contrary, the responses to around fourteen—often highly positive—reviews have welcomed all their criticisms and simply replied to them. None of these replies appear to commit the ad hominem (to the man) fallacy: that of addressing the qualities of a person as a way of attempting to undermine or defend an argument or (...)
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  31. Smiting Statist Philosophical Philistinism: A Reply to the Thom Brooks Review of Escape From Leviathan.J. C. Lester - manuscript
    It is possible to pose many difficult and fascinating problems and criticisms for the various theses and arguments in Escape from Leviathan (EfL). This occurred while writing it, and various sharp minds did it on reading drafts or the final product. However, some reviews misunderstand, or ignore, what is written and reassert conventional views. But it is best to answer all published criticisms if only to show how they fail, lest anyone thinks they are sound, and even poor criticisms can (...)
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  32. Against Philosophical Anarchism.Fabian Wendt - 2020 - Law and Philosophy 39 (5):527-544.
    Philosophical anarchists claim that all states lack political authority and are illegitimate, but that some states are nevertheless morally justified and should not be abolished. I argue that philosophical anarchism is either incoherent or collapses into either statism or political anarchism.
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  33. Review of Edward P. Stringham, Ed., Anarchy, State, and Public Choice. [REVIEW]Gary Chartier - 2015 - The Review of Austrian Economics 28:361-63.
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  34. Review of Anthony de Jasay, Political Philosophy, Clearly. [REVIEW]Gary Chartier - 2010 - Independent Review 15:603-606.
  35. Review of Michael Huemer, The Problem of Political Authority. [REVIEW]Gary Chartier - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 26:515-20.
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  36. Anarchism as a Research Program in Law.Gary Chartier - 2012 - Griffith Law Review 21:293-206.
    Examines various aspects of anarchism relevant to or illuminated by legal theory.
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  37. The Conscience of an Anarchist.Gary Chartier - 2011 - Apple Valley, CA, USA: Cobden Press.
    Anarchy happens when people organize their lives peacefully and voluntarily— without the aggressive violence of the state. This simple but powerful book explains why the state is illegitimate, unnecessary, and dangerous, and what we can do to begin achieving real freedom.
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  38. Smashing the State Gently: Radical Realism and Realist Anarchism.Gearóid Brinn - 2020 - European Journal of Political Theory 19 (2):206-227.
    The revival of realism in political theory has included efforts to challenge realism’s conservative reputation and argue that radical forms are possible. Nonetheless these efforts have been criticised as insufficient to overcome realism’s inherent conservatism. This article argues that radical forms of realism can be better appreciated by considering the application of the realist perspective within an existing radical ideology: anarchism. This may seem an unusual choice, considering anarchism’s standard representation as naïvely idealistic and paradigmatically non-realist. However, attention to the (...)
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  39. Political uses of Utopia: New Marxist, anarchist, and radical democratic perspectives.Paul Raekstad - 2020 - Contemporary Political Theory 19 (1):75-78.
  40. The Earliest Chinese Translation of Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid.Yinli Ge - 2019 - Cultura 16 (2):89-104.
    In 1908, the first and second chapters of Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid were first translated into Chinese by Li Shizeng, greatly influencing Chinese anarchists. Li Shizeng followed Kropotkin’s scientific argument of anarchism and strengthened the viewpoint for praising “public” and suppressing “private”. When translating Kropotkin’s thoughts, Li Shizeng focused on political revolution, glossing over the criticism of the capitalist economy, and barely referenced Kropotkin’s original anarchist communist ideology.
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  41. The Diversity of Tactics: Anarchism and Political Power.Elizabeth J. Frazer - 2016 - European Journal of Political Theory 18 (4):553-564.
    This review essay focusses on Gelderloos's normative theory of diversity of tactics. The book is worth serious attention by political theorists because of its sustained analysis of violence, nonviolence, tactics and strategy, but the normative theory fails. The essay endorses Gelderloos's nuanced analysis of the violence-nonviolence distinction and aspects of his account of tactics-strategy-goals. But the concepts ‘state' and ‘politics' are both treated by him in an overly simple way. Although aspects of his account show how complex any state-society distinction (...)
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  42. The History and Philosophy of the Postwar American Counterculture: Anarchy, the Beats and the Psychedelic Transformation of Consciousness.Ed D'Angelo - manuscript
    This is a greatly expanded version of my article "Anarchism and the Beats," which was published in the book, The Philosophy of the Beats, by the University Press of Kentucky in 2012. It is both an historical and a philosophical analysis of the postwar American counterculture. It charts the historical origins of the postwar American counterculture from the anarchists and romantic poets of the early nineteenth century to a complex network of beat poets and pacifist anarchists in the early decades (...)
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  43. Redefining Anarchy: From Metaphysics to Politics.Sotirios Frantzanas - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Glasgow
    This study is inspired by the current debate between the traditional anarchist views, the post-left and post-anarchist understandings of anarchy. It claims that the depictions of anarchy by both sides are primarily negative and develops an original and positive definition of anarchy. In particular, it argues that anarchy is the concept that refers to a way of being with the cosmos and thus instead of being posterior to the political it is in fact prior to it. This is to say, (...)
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  44. Immanent Liberalism: The Politics of Mutual Consent.Roderick T. Long - 1995 - Social Philosophy and Policy 12 (2):1-31.
    Part One of Marx's “On the Jewish Question” is a communitarian manifesto, one of the finest and subtlest ever penned. But has it anything valuable to offer defenders of liberalism? I think it does; for in “On the Jewish Question” Marx points to a potential danger into which communitarians are liable to fall, and I shall argue that his discussion sheds light on an analogous peril for liberals. Specifically, Marx distinguishes between a genuine and a spurious form of communitarianism, and (...)
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  45. The Heterodox 'Fourth Paradigm' of Libertarianism: An Abstract Eleutherology Plus Critical Rationalism.J. C. Lester - 2019 - Journal of Libertarian Studies 23:91-116.
    1) Introduction. 2) The key libertarian insight into property and orthodox libertarianism’s philosophical confusion. 3) Clearer distinctions for applying to what follows: abstract liberty; practical liberty; moral defences; and critical rationalism. 4) The two dominant (‘Lockean’ and ‘Hobbesian’) conceptions of interpersonal liberty. 5) A general account of libertarianism as a subset of classical liberalism and defended from a narrower view. 6) Two abstract (non-propertarian, non-normative) theories of interpersonal liberty developed and defended: ‘the absence of interpersonal initiated imposed constraints on want-satisfaction’, (...)
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  46. The Revolution of 1917 — the 1920s and the History of Social and Political Thought From Ivan Lysiak-Rudnytsky’s Perspective.Serhii Yosypenko - 2017 - Kyiv-Mohyla Humanities Journal 4:53-66.
    Prominent Ukrainian historian Ivan Lysiak-Rudnytsky (1919–1984) repeatedly addressed the topic of the Ukrainian revolution of 1917 – the 1920s, especially considering its intellectual origins and implications in the context of the history of Ukrainian social and political thought. Analysis of his works shows the manner in which the Ukrainian revolution as an event structures the history of Ukrainian social and political thought in both senses of the term “history”: as history itself and as its historiography. Based on this analysis, the (...)
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  47. Following the Law Because It’s the Law: Obedience, Bootstrapping, and Practical Reason.Paul Schofield - 2018 - Philosophical Explorations 21 (3):400-411.
    Voluntarists in the early modern period speak of an agent’s following the law because she was ordered to do so or because it’s the law. Contemporary philosophers tend either to ignore or to dismiss the possibility of justified obedience of this sort – that is, they ignore or dismiss the possibility that something’s being the law could in itself constitute a good reason to act. In this paper, I suggest that this view isn’t taken seriously because of certain widespread beliefs (...)
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  48. Justice, Community and Globalization: Groundwork to a Communal-Cosmopolitanism.Joshua Anderson - 2019 - New York, NY, USA: Routledge.
    This book takes up the tension between globalization and community in order to articulate a new theory of global justice. Although the process of globalization is not new, its current manifestation and consequences are. At the same time, there is a growing recognition of the importance of community, identity and belonging. These two facts have generally been understood to be fundamentally in tension, both theoretically and descriptively. This book seeks to resolve this tension, and then draw out the implications for (...)
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  49. Why Do so Many Modern Jobs Seem Pointless? [REVIEW]Roderick T. Long & Roderick Long - 2019 - Reason 50:58-59.
  50. Anarchism and Art: Democracy in the Cracks and on the Margins.Allan Antliff - 2018 - Contemporary Political Theory 17 (4):209-211.
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