How to Attack a Non-Strawman: a Reply to the Andrew I. Cohen Review of Escape from Leviathan


Primarily using philosophy, but also some social science, Escape from Leviathan (EfL) explains and defends what it calls an extreme version of the implicit ‘classical liberal compatibility thesis’: liberty, welfare, and anarchy are overwhelmingly complementary in normal practice (rationality is added for its intimate theoretical connections to these categories). This is done using theories, not definitions, of each concept. This important thesis is entirely positive. Therefore, somewhat unusually, all normative issues are avoided as irrelevant distractions in this context. In addition, the epistemology used is also unorthodox. A justificationist, or foundationalist, approach would be literally illogical: the self-refuting trilemma faced by ‘supporting justifications’ (as regards arguments and evidence) is of entailing infinite regresses, dogmatic starting points, or circularities. Consequently, critical rationalism is assumed: conjecture and criticism are all that is possible. Thus all aspects of the conjectured thesis are explained and defended from criticism as thoroughly as the book can encompass. It is concluded that the thesis has not been refuted and so may be critically preferred. (However, this could all still be viewed as a ‘justification’ by those thus inclined.) All of this is made clear enough in the short introductory chapter and repeated where relevant throughout. Yet some reviews do not have a firm grasp of the specific project and so reject it with unsound criticisms. We now turn to one such example.



External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

  • Only published works are available at libraries.

Similar books and articles


Added to PP

271 (#66,076)

6 months
57 (#66,810)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

J. C. Lester
London School of Economics

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references