|Died||January 23, 2002 63) (aged|
Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Education|| Columbia University (AB)|
Princeton University (PhD)
Oxford University (Fulbright Scholar)
|School|| Analytic |
|Doctoral advisors||Carl Gustav Hempel|
|Political philosophy, ethics, epistemology|
|Utility monster, experience machine, justice as property rights, Nozick's Lockean proviso, Wilt Chamberlain argument, paradox of deontology, entitlement theory, deductive closure, Nozick's four conditions on knowledge|
|Part of a series on|
in the United States
Robert Nozick ( // ; November 16, 1938 – January 23, 2002) was an American philosopher. He held the Joseph Pellegrino University Professorship at Harvard University, and was president of the American Philosophical Association. He is best known for his books Philosophical Explanations (1981), which included his counterfactual theory of knowledge, and Anarchy, State, and Utopia (1974), a libertarian answer to John Rawls' A Theory of Justice (1971), in which Nozick also presented his own theory of utopia as one in which people can freely choose the rules of the society they enter into. His other work involved ethics, decision theory, philosophy of mind, metaphysics and epistemology. His final work before his death, Invariances (2001), introduced his theory of evolutionary cosmology, by which he argues invariances, and hence objectivity itself, emerged through a theory of evolutionary cosmology across possible worlds.
A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy, which involves rational inquiry into areas that are outside either theology or science. The term "philosopher" comes from the Ancient Greek, φιλόσοφος (philosophos), meaning "lover of wisdom". The coining of the term has been attributed to the Greek thinker Pythagoras.
At Harvard University, the title of University Professor is an honor bestowed upon a very small number of its tenured faculty members whose scholarship and other professional work have attained particular distinction and influence. The University Professorship is Harvard's most distinguished professorial post.
The American Philosophical Association (APA) is the main professional organization for philosophers in the United States. Founded in 1900, its mission is to promote the exchange of ideas among philosophers, to encourage creative and scholarly activity in philosophy, to facilitate the professional work and teaching of philosophers, and to represent philosophy as a discipline.
Nozick was born in Brooklyn to a family of Kohenic descent. His mother was born Sophie Cohen, and his father was a Jew from the Russian shtetl who had been born with the name Cohen and who ran a small business.
Brooklyn is the most populous borough of New York City, with an estimated 2,648,771 residents in 2017. Named after the Dutch village of Breukelen, it borders the borough of Queens at the western end of Long Island. Brooklyn has several bridge and tunnel connections to the borough of Manhattan across the East River, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connects Staten Island. Since 1896, Brooklyn has been coterminous with Kings County, the most populous county in the U.S. state of New York and the second-most densely populated county in the United States, after New York County.
Kohen or cohen is the Hebrew word for "priest", used in reference to the Aaronic priesthood. Levitical priests or kohanim are traditionally believed and halakhically required to be of direct patrilineal descent from the biblical Aaron, brother of Moses.
Shtetlekh (Yiddish: שטעטל, shtetl, שטעטלעך, shtetlekh were small towns with large Jewish populations, which existed in Central and Eastern Europe before the Holocaust. Shtetlekh were mainly found in the areas that constituted the 19th century Pale of Settlement in the Russian Empire, the Congress Kingdom of Poland, Galicia and Romania. In Yiddish, a larger city, like Lviv or Chernivtsi, was called a shtot ; a village was called a dorf. In official parlance the shtetl was referred to as " miasteczko".
He attended the public schools in Brooklyn. At one point he joined the youth branch of Norman Thomas's Socialist Party. In addition, at Columbia he founded the local chapter of the Student League for Industrial Democracy, which in 1962 changed its name to Students for a Democratic Society.
Norman Mattoon Thomas was an American Presbyterian minister who achieved fame as a socialist, pacifist, and six-time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America.
Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university in Upper Manhattan, New York City. Established in 1754, Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It is one of nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence, seven of which belong to the Ivy League. It has been ranked by numerous major education publications as among the top ten universities in the world.
Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was a national student activist organization in the United States that was one of the main representations of the New Left. Founded in 1960, the organization developed and expanded rapidly in the mid-1960s, with over 300 chapters recorded nationwide by 1969,before dissolving at its last convention in 1969.
That same year, after receiving his bachelor of arts degree in 1959, he married Barbara Fierer. They had two children, Emily and David. The Nozicks eventually divorced and he remarried, to the poet Gjertrud Schnackenberg. Nozick died in 2002 after a prolonged struggle with stomach cancer.He was interred at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Gjertrud Schnackenberg is an American poet.
Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is a cancer which develops from the lining of the stomach. Early symptoms may include heartburn, upper abdominal pain, nausea and loss of appetite. Later signs and symptoms may include weight loss, yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, vomiting, difficulty swallowing and blood in the stool among others. The cancer may spread from the stomach to other parts of the body, particularly the liver, lungs, bones, lining of the abdomen and lymph nodes.
Mount Auburn Cemetery is the first rural, or garden, cemetery in the United States, located on the line between Cambridge and Watertown in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, 4 miles (6.4 km) west of Boston. It is the burial site of many prominent members of the Boston Brahmins, as well being a National Historic Landmark.
Nozick was educated at Columbia (A.B. 1959, summa cum laude ), where he studied with Sidney Morgenbesser, and later at Princeton (Ph.D. 1963) under Carl Hempel, and at Oxford as a Fulbright Scholar (1963–1964).
A Bachelor of Arts is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, sciences, or both. Bachelor of Arts programs generally take three to four years depending on the country, institution, and specific specializations, majors, or minors. The word baccalaureus should not be confused with baccalaureatus, which refers to the one- to two-year postgraduate Bachelor of Arts with Honors degree in some countries.
Sidney Morgenbesser was a philosopher and professor at Columbia University.
Princeton University is a private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 1746 in Elizabeth as the College of New Jersey, Princeton is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The institution moved to Newark in 1747, then to the current site nine years later, and renamed itself Princeton University in 1896.
For Anarchy, State, and Utopia (1974) Nozick received a National Book Award in category Philosophy and Religion.There, Nozick argues that only a minimal state limited to the narrow functions of protection against "force, fraud, theft, and administering courts of law" could be justified without violating people's rights. For Nozick, a distribution of goods is just if brought about by free exchange among consenting adults from a just starting position, even if large inequalities subsequently emerge from the process. Nozick appealed to the Kantian idea that people should be treated as ends (what he termed 'separateness of persons'), not merely as a means to some other end.
Anarchy, State, and Utopia is a 1974 book by the American political philosopher Robert Nozick. It won the 1975 US National Book Award in category Philosophy and Religion, has been translated into 11 languages, and was named one of the "100 most influential books since the war" (1945–1995) by the UK Times Literary Supplement.
The National Book Awards are a set of annual U.S. literary awards. At the final National Book Awards Ceremony every November, the National Book Foundation presents the National Book Awards and two lifetime achievement awards to authors.
In economics, a free market is a system in which the prices for goods and services are determined by the open market and by consumers. In a free market the laws and forces of supply and demand are free from any intervention by a government, or by other authority. Proponents of the concept of free market contrast it with a regulated market, in which a government intervenes in supply and demand through various methods — such as tariffs — used to restrict trade and to protect the local economy. In an idealized free-market economy, prices for goods and services are set freely by the forces of supply and demand and are allowed to reach their point of equilibrium without intervention by government policy.
Nozick challenged the partial conclusion of John Rawls' Second Principle of Justice of his A Theory of Justice , that "social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are to be of greatest benefit to the least-advantaged members of society." Anarchy, State, and Utopia claims a heritage from John Locke's Second Treatise on Government and seeks to ground itself upon a natural law doctrine, but reaches some importantly different conclusions from Locke himself in several ways.
Most controversially, Nozick argued that a consistent upholding of the non-aggression principle would allow and regard as valid consensual or non-coercive enslavement contracts between adults. He rejected the notion of inalienable rights advanced by Locke and most contemporary capitalist-oriented libertarian academics, writing in Anarchy, State, and Utopia that the typical notion of a "free system" would allow adults to voluntarily enter into non-coercive slave contracts.
In Philosophical Explanations (1981), which received the Phi Beta Kappa Society's Ralph Waldo Emerson Award, Nozick provided novel accounts of knowledge, free will, personal identity, the nature of value, and the meaning of life. He also put forward an epistemological system which attempted to deal with both the Gettier problem and those posed by skepticism. This highly influential argument eschewed justification as a necessary requirement for knowledge. ch. 7:
Nozick's four conditions for S's knowing that P were:
Nozick's third and fourth conditions are counterfactuals. He called this the "tracking theory" of knowledge. Nozick believed the counterfactual conditionals bring out an important aspect of our intuitive grasp of knowledge: For any given fact, the believer's method must reliably track the truth despite varying relevant conditions. In this way, Nozick's theory is similar to reliabilism. Due to certain counterexamples that could otherwise be raised against these counterfactual conditions, Nozick specified that:
Where M stands for the method by which S came to arrive at a belief whether or not P.
A major criticism of Nozick's theory of knowledge is his rejection of the principle of deductive closure. This principle states that if S knows X and S knows that X implies Y, then S knows Y. Nozick's truth tracking conditions do not allow for the principle of deductive closure. Nozick believes that the truth tracking conditions are more fundamental to human intuition than the principle of deductive closure.[ citation needed ]
The Examined Life (1989), pitched to a broader public, explores love, death, faith, reality, and the meaning of life. According to Stephen Metcalf, Nozick expresses serious misgivings about capitalist libertarianism, going so far as to reject much of the foundations of the theory on the grounds that personal freedom can sometimes only be fully actualized via a collectivist politics and that wealth is at times justly redistributed via taxation to protect the freedom of the many from the potential tyranny of an overly selfish and powerful few.Nozick suggests that citizens who are opposed to wealth redistribution which fund programs they object to, should be able to opt out by supporting alternative government approved charities with an added 5% surcharge.
However, Jeff Riggenbach has noted that in an interview conducted in July 2001, he stated that he had never stopped self-identifying as a libertarian. Roderick Long reported that in his last book, Invariances , [Nozick] identified voluntary cooperation as the 'core principle' of ethics, maintaining that the duty not to interfere with another person's 'domain of choice' is '[a]ll that any society should (coercively) demand'; higher levels of ethics, involving positive benevolence, represent instead a 'personal ideal' that should be left to 'a person's own individual choice and development.' And that certainly sounds like an attempt to embrace libertarianism all over again. My own view is that Nozick's thinking about these matters evolved over time and that what he wrote at any given time was an accurate reflection of what he was thinking at that time."Furthermore, Julian Sanchez reported that "Nozick always thought of himself as a libertarian in a broad sense, right up to his final days, even as his views became somewhat less 'hardcore.'"
The Nature of Rationality (1993) presents a theory of practical reason that attempts to embellish notoriously spartan classical decision theory.
Socratic Puzzles (1997) is a collection of papers that range in topic from Ayn Rand and Austrian economics to animal rights. A thesis claims that "social ties are deeply interconnected with vital parts of Nozick's later philosophy", citing these two works as a development of The Examined Life.
His last production, Invariances (2001), applies insights from physics and biology to questions of objectivity in such areas as the nature of necessity and moral value.
Nozick created the thought experiment of the "utility monster" to show that average utilitarianism could lead to a situation where the needs of the vast majority were sacrificed for one individual. He also wrote a version of what was essentially a previously-known thought experiment, the experience machine, in an attempt to show that ethical hedonism was false. Nozick asked us to imagine that "superduper neuropsychologists" have figured out a way to stimulate a person's brain to induce pleasurable experiences. 210–11 We would not be able to tell that these experiences were not real. He asks us, if we were given the choice, would we choose a machine-induced experience of a wonderful life over real life? Nozick says no, then asks whether we have reasons not to plug into the machine and concludes that since it does not seem to be rational to plug in, ethical hedonism must be false.:
Nozick was notable for the exploratory style of his philosophizing and for his methodological ecumenism. Often content to raise tantalizing philosophical possibilities and then leave judgment to the reader, Nozick was also notable for drawing from literature outside of philosophy (e.g., economics, physics, evolutionary biology).
In his 2001 work, Invariances, Nozick introduces his theory of truth, in which he leans towards a deflationary theory of truth, but argues that objectivity arises through being invariant under various transformations. For instance, space-time is a significant objective fact because an interval involving both temporal and spatial separation is invariant, whereas no simpler interval involving only temporal or only spatial separation is invariant under Lorentz transformations. Nozick argues that invariances, and hence objectivity itself, emerged through a theory of evolutionary cosmology across possible worlds.
correction from original of 26 January 2002
Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with the theory of knowledge.
Political philosophy, also known as political theory, is the study of topics such as politics, liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of laws by authority: what they are, if they are needed and why, what makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it should take and why, what the law is, and what duties citizens owe to a legitimate government, if any, and when it may be legitimately overthrown, if ever.
Analytic philosophy is a style of philosophy that became dominant in the Western world at the beginning of the 20th century. The term can refer to one of several things:
Libertarian theories of law build upon classical liberal and individualist doctrines.
David Kellogg Lewis was an American philosopher. Lewis taught briefly at UCLA and then at Princeton from 1970 until his death. He is also closely associated with Australia, whose philosophical community he visited almost annually for more than thirty years. He made contributions in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophy of probability, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophical logic, and aesthetics. He is probably best known for his controversial modal realist stance: that (i) possible worlds exist, (ii) every possible world is a concrete entity, (iii) any possible world is causally and spatiotemporally isolated from any other possible world, and (iv) our world is among the possible worlds.
In libertarian political philosophy, a night-watchman state is a model of a state whose only functions are to provide its citizens with the military, the police and courts, thus protecting them from aggression, theft, breach of contract and fraud and enforcing property laws. Nineteenth-century Britain has been described by historian Charles Townshend as standard-bearer of this form of government among Western countries.
Entitlement theory is a theory of distributive justice and private property created by Robert Nozick in his book Anarchy, State, and Utopia. The theory is Nozick's attempt to describe "justice in holdings" —or what can be said about and done with the property people own when viewed from a principle of justice.
The Lockean proviso is a feature of John Locke's labour theory of property which states that whilst individuals have a right to homestead private property from nature by working on it, they can do so only "at least where there is enough, and as good, left in common for others."
The labor theory of property is a theory of natural law that holds that property originally comes about by the exertion of labor upon natural resources. The theory has been used to justify the homestead principle, which holds that one may gain whole permanent ownership of an unowned natural resource by performing an act of original appropriation.
Libertarianism is a collection of political philosophies and movements that uphold liberty as a core principle. Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association and individual judgment. Libertarians share a skepticism of authority and state power, but they diverge on the scope of their opposition to existing political and economic systems. Various schools of libertarian thought offer a range of views regarding the legitimate functions of state and private power, often calling for the restriction or dissolution of coercive social institutions.
"Instrumental rationality" is a term commonly used in philosophy to refer to the human use of operational reasoning in the creation of technical knowledge to manipulate the world. "Value rationality" refers to a related process of reasoning about the ends of such manipulation, via moral or spiritual processes.
Right-libertarianism, or right-wing libertarianism, usually simply referred to as libertarianism in the United States and other countries, refers to libertarian political philosophies that advocate negative rights, natural law and a major reversal of the modern welfare state. Right-libertarians strongly support private property rights and defend market distribution of natural resources and private property. This position is contrasted with that of some versions of left-libertarianism. Right-libertarianism includes anarcho-capitalism and laissez-faire minarchist liberalism.
Philosophical Explanations is a 1981 metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical treatise by the philosopher Robert Nozick. The book received positive reviews. Commentators have praised it for Nozick's discussions of the fundamental questions of philosophy and of topics such as epistemology and ethics, and welcomed it as a convincing response to charges that American academic philosophy is overly concerned with technical issues. Nozick's discussions of knowledge and skepticism have received much critical attention.
For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto is a book by American economist and historian Murray Rothbard, in which the author promotes anarcho-capitalism. The work has been credited as an influence on modern libertarian thought and on part of the New Right.
Socratic Puzzles is a 1997 collection of essays by the philosopher Robert Nozick.
Epistemic closure is a property of some belief systems. It is the principle that if a subject knows , and knows that entails , then can thereby come to know . Most epistemological theories involve a closure principle and many skeptical arguments assume a closure principle.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to libertarianism:
American philosophy is the activity, corpus, and tradition of philosophers affiliated with the United States. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy notes that while it lacks a "core of defining features, American Philosophy can nevertheless be seen as both reflecting and shaping collective American identity over the history of the nation."
A Theory of Justice: The Musical is a 2013 musical comedy by Eylon Levy, Ramin Sabi, Tommy Peto and Toby Huelin. Billed as "an all-singing, all-dancing romp through 2,500 years of political philosophy", the musical tells a fictionalised account of the writing of A Theory of Justice (1971), the classic philosophical treatise by American political philosopher John Rawls. It premiered in Oxford's Keble O'Reilly Theatre in January 2013 and was revived for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2013. In 2018, a reworked version was presented for a rehearsed reading in London's West End.