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Robert Nozick: Property, Justice, and the Minimal State (Key Contemporary Thinkers) Paperback – March 1, 1991

ISBN-13: 978-0804718561 ISBN-10: 0804718563 Edition: 1st

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Robert Nozick: Property, Justice, and the Minimal State (Key Contemporary Thinkers) + The Cambridge Companion to Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy) + Anarchy, State, and Utopia
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Product Details

  • Series: Key Contemporary Thinkers
  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press; 1 edition (March 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804718563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804718561
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

a A very clear exposition ... incisive and illuminating ... it is hard to see how the book could be bettered, and it will be eagerly pounced upon by every student who hopes to answer a a Nozick questiona in finals.a Political Studies a Thorough and lucrid...a The Philosopher a An intelligent, attractively written and smartly argued discussion.a Philosophical Quarterly --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

'A very clear exposition ... incisive and illuminating ... it is hard to see how the book could be bettered, and it will be eagerly pounced upon by every student who hopes to answer a 'Nozick question' in finals.' Political Studies

'Thorough and lucrid...' The Philosopher

'An intelligent, attractively written and smartly argued discussion.' Philosophical Quarterly --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By L. Rodney Ford on June 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
If you've read Robert Nozick's "Anarchy, State, and Utopia" (AS&U) or you are considering reading it, I stronly advise you to follow it by reading Jonathan Wolff's "Robert Nozick: Property, Justice, and the Minimal State".
In my recent review of AS&U, I wrote many positive statements about it and expressed my agreement with many of the ideas presented in the book. I also wrote some negative statements regarding the organization of the presented material, the lack of concise summaries of significant concepts, and the frequency and magnitude of tangential discussions.
Whenever I read something with which I generally agree (like AS&U), I immediately seek out opposing views that I would consider an effective use of my time and thought. This time, my search led me to something that provided opposing views AND helped me to garner a better understanding of the ideas presented in AS&U - "Property, Justice, and the Minimal State".
"Property, Justice, and the Minimal State" provides important and relevant criticism of AS&U, presents most of its central ideas in a more concise and organized fashion, and contains excellent notes about other critics of AS&U and related reading material. (Alas, so much to read and think, so little time...)
I view "Property, Justice, and the Minimal State" as a NECESSARY companion to AS&U. If you read one and not the other, there is much that you could gain that you have not.
(My rating of five stars for this book should not be viewed as independent of my rating of four stars for AS&U. I believe that, had I not read AS&U earlier, I would not have been adequately qualified to (even) submit a rating for "Property, Justice, and the Minimal State".
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I don't have much to add to the other reviews of this excellent, well-written book. Although Robert Nozick's landmark book Anarchy, State, and Utopia entered the canon of political philosophy soon after it was published in the mid-1970s, it is a remarkably disorganized and difficult book. Here, English philosopher Jonathan Wolff carefully and lucidly reconstructs ASU's main arguments. Along the way he points out numerous problems and holes in ASU -- raising huge difficulties for its libertarian approach to politics -- but he is scrupulously fair and acknowledges that Nozick has changed the face of political theory. I read this book immediately after I struggled through ASU and I can't exaggerate how it deepened my understanding of Nozick's book. And it's short!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mikhail Valdman on July 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
Jonathan Wolff has admirably succeeded in providing some clarity and focus to Nozick's often frenetic prose and disjointed ideas. Wolff presents a clear exposition of the main ideas in Anarchy, State, and Utopia (and thankfully avoids Nozick's digressions), and reviews some of the standard objections to Nozick's brand of libertarianism. He also offers some thoughtful replies on behalf of Nozick, though these are usually unconvincing (due more to Nozick than Wolff).
In my opinion, this book should be useful both to students of political philosophy as well as to political philosophers themselves. Wolff is very clear, very accessible, and does not assume a whole lot in the way of background knowledge (though familiarity with Rawls would be an asset). This book is extremely useful to anyone wanting to familiarize themselves with the debate on libertarian political philosophy.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
For what it aims to do, provide a clear exposition and analysis of the late Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia, this book is virtually flawless. Wolff provides a lucid and fair description of Nozick's ideas, even to the extent of sometimes trying to bridge some of the considerable gaps in Nozick's arguments. Exposition of Nozick's positions is accompanied by similarly clear and well justified criticisms of Nozick's positions. Wolff praises Nozick for adopting a extreme position, trying to follow the consequences of a rather restricted view of rights to its logical conclusions, thereby illuminating a frontier for what is possible in political philosophy. Nozick starts with the preeminence of a Lockean view of property rights, emphasizing the inviolability of rights to possession of oneself and property. From this starting point, Nozick argues that a minimal state is necessary and the only morally justified state, and that, indeed, the minimal state is "inspiring" as it would permit a plurality of communities with differing visions of moral self-fulfillment. In the course of reconstructing Nozick's arguments, Wolff reveals several of the considerable problems with Nozick's positions and expositions. These include a failure to justify the minimal state against the arguments of anarchists, a remarkable failure to justify his basic conception of rights, and the fact that his minimal state is very unlikely to yield the plural communities he sees as "inspiring." Wolff is considerably more positive about Nozick as a critic, noting some of his trenchant criticism of rival positions, particularly of aspects of Rawls' system.Read more ›
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