1 Personal life 2 Career and works
2.1 Political philosophy 2.2 Epistemology 2.3 Later books 2.4 Utilitarianism 2.5 Philosophical method 2.6 Invariances
3 Bibliography 4 See also 5 Notes 6 Further reading 7 External links
Nozick was born in
P is true S believes that P If it were the case that (not-P), S would not believe that P If it were the case that P, S would believe that P
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:
If P weren’t the case and S were to use M to arrive at a belief whether or not P, then S wouldn’t believe, via M, that P. If P were the case and S were to use M to arrive at a belief whether or not P, then S would believe, via M, that P.
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
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
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
Socratic Puzzles (1997) is a collection of papers that range
in topic from
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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). Invariances 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. Bibliography
Anarchy, State, and Utopia
American philosophy Liberalism List of American philosophers List of liberal theorists A Theory of Justice: The Musical! – in which a fictional Nozick is one of the characters
^ Robert Nozick's Political Philosophy (Stanford Encyclopedia of
^ "How can a concern for the non-violation of C [i.e. some
deontological constraint] lead to refusal to violate C even when this
would prevent other more extensive violations of C?": Robert Nozick,
Anarchy, State and Utopia, Basic Books (1974), p. 30 as quoted by
Ulrike Heuer, "Paradox of Deontology, Revisited", in: Mark Timmons
(ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics.
Feser, Edward (May 4, 2005). "
^ "National Book Awards – 1975" Archived 2011-09-09 at the Wayback
Machine.. National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-08.
^ Feser, Edward. "
Cohen, G. A. (1995). "
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