Posts Tagged ‘Robert Nozick’

ROBERT NOZICK’S CONCEPTION OF THE STATE: A PHILOSOPHICAL EVALUATION

April 10, 2017

Author: Ogbuishi Anthony Abuchi
Department: Philosophy
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

The state viewed from Nozick’s perspective as argued in his Anarchy, State and Utopia, should control no more power than the minimal function of guaranteeing the entitlement rights of the individual citizens. In the named book, Nozick expounded a conservative and libertarian notion of the minimal state and the entitlement theory of justice as against the reformative and egalitarian notions of the state and distributive justice advanced in John Rawl’s book, A theory of Justice. The problematic, that this study undertakes to investigate borders on the strength and achievements of Nozick’s conception of the minimal state. Accordingly, the study, in seeking reasonably justifiable answers is poised to know: the extent of correctness of Robert Nozick libertarian and minimal conception of the state. It probes into the seeming ‘neutrality’ of Nozick’s conception of justice – his just and minimal state. In other words this study wish to scrutinize or perhaps clearly establish whether or not Nozick’s theory of justice succeeded in closing the gap that leads to oppression in the society. And why Nozick tends to hold curiously an anti-social and anarchistic postures regarding justice in state also forms part of our probing. Though the views on ‘the state’ have relatively changed through the ages, a general philosophical conceptualization of the state would at least be said to have been based on the origin, formation, nature, character, essence and purpose, of the state; the use of state power and apparatus; the entitlements and rights, of both the state officials and citizenry; and on how the ideal state should be. While this line of thought is what provides or informs our background, the subject of our study is Robert Nozick’s conception of the state. Having in mind the task of this study, which is to evaluate from the philosophical point of view Nozick’s notion of the state, the method adopted for this work is basically analytical which consists in analysis and would involve a step by step process of clarification of concepts by an elucidation of their use to our discourse. Our major findings are: that Nozick’s conception of the state is a defence of capitalism and free-market economy; Nozick is opposed to socialism and its welfarism but would tolerate this and / or other socialist activities so long as these do not infringe on the individuals rights which for him are basic and absolute. This rather immaculate Nozickean notion of the state is hard to attain and even if it is realized could easily relapse into anarchic society.

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