- 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: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,231,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Robert Nozick: Property, Justice, and the Minimal State (Key Contemporary Thinkers) 1st Edition
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From the Back Cover
This book is the first full-length study of Nozick's work and of the debates to which it has given rise. Wolff situates Norzick's work in the context of current debates and examines the traditions which have influenced his thought. He then critically reconstructs the key arguments of Anarchy, State, and Utopia. Focusing on Nozick's doctrine of rights, his derivation of the minimal state, and his Entitlement Theory of Justice.
Top customer reviews
Relatively short, written very well, and with an excellent bibliography, this book is an excellent adjunct to reading Anarchy, State, and Utopia, which as Wolff remarks, can be a bit of a trial. While Wolff does not agree with Nozick's views, he is quite positive about Nozick's contribution to contemporary political philosophy. I am somewhat more negative in judging Anarchy, State, and Utopia. While this is not the only attempt to justify libertarianism, it is often regarded as the most important effort to justify libertarian ideas. Given the multiple holes in Nozick's arguments, libertarianism does not seem to be well justified, though this is likely to be true of any system that reduces political philosophy to a simple principle.
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". I rate this book five stars, at least partly, because it helped me to gain more from AS&U. My ratings of these two books are correlated and should be interpreted with that in mind.)
Now, on to read John Rawls' "A Theory of Justice"...
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.