ROBERT NOZICK (/ˈnoʊzɪk/ ; November 16, 1938 – January 23, 2002)
was an American philosopher . He held the Joseph Pellegrino University
* 1 Personal life
* 2 Career and works
* 3 Bibliography * 4 See also * 5 Notes * 6 Further reading * 7 External links
Nozick was born in
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
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 . He died in 2002 after a prolonged struggle with
stomach cancer . He was interred at
Mount Auburn Cemetery
CAREER AND WORKS
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).
Main article: Anarchy, State, and Utopia
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, theft, fraud, enforcement of contracts, and so on" 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.
Nozick challenged the partial conclusion of
John Rawls ' Second
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 .
Philosophical Explanations _ (1981), which received the Phi Beta
Nozick's Four Conditions for S's knowing that P were:
* 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 closure.
_ 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. And Roderick Long reports that in his last book, _ Invariances _, identified voluntary cooperation as the 'core principle' of ethics, maintaining that the duty not to interfere with another person's 'domain of choice' is '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."
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
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.
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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 ).
* _ Anarchy, State, and Utopia _ (1974) ISBN 0-631-19780-X * _ Philosophical Explanations _ (1981) ISBN 0-19-824672-2 * _ The Examined Life _ (1989) ISBN 0-671-72501-7 * _ The Nature of Rationality _ (1993/1995) ISBN 0-691-02096-5 * _ Socratic Puzzles _ (1997) ISBN 0-674-81653-6 * _Invariances: The Structure of the Objective World _ (2001/2003) ISBN 0-674-01245-3
* _ Libertarianism portal * Philosophy portal
* ^ For biographies, memorials, and obituaries see:
* Feser, Edward (May 4, 2005). "
* ^ "National Book Awards – 1975" Archived 2011-09-09 at the
Wayback Machine ..
National Book Foundation . Retrieved 2012-03-08.
* ^ Ellerman, David (September 2005). "_Translatio_ versus
_Concessio_: Retrieving the Debate about Contracts of Alienation with
an Application to Today’s Employment Contract" (PDF). _Politics &
Society_. Sage Publications. 35 (3): 449-80. doi
:10.1177/0032329205278463 . Retrieved 17 April 2017.
* ^ A summary of the political philosophy of
* Cohen, G. A. (1995). "
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