Robert Nozick

Robert Nozick, 1938–2002, American political philosopher, b. Brooklyn, N.Y.; grad. Columbia Univ. (B.A., 1959), Princeton (M.A., 1961; Ph.D., 1963). After teaching at Princeton and Rockefeller Univ., he became (1969) a philosophy professor at Harvard, where he was named a university professor in 1998. Once a campus radical, Novick soon veered rightward, becoming a staunchly conservative opponent of the kind of liberalism represented by his Harvard colleague, John Rawls. Nozick's first book, Anarchy, State, and Utopia (1974; National Book Award), a critique of Rawls, has became a key work in contemporary political philosophy. Castigating the paternalism of the welfare state, supporting the primacy of the individual, and defending capitalism, he called for the most minimal of governments, one that would protect its members against violence, theft, and breach of contract and do very little more. Nozick also explored a wide range of other philosophical subjects and their connections to various disciplines. Among his other books are Philosophical Explanations (1981), The Examined Life (1989), The Nature of Rationality (1995), and Invariances: The Structure of the Objective World (2001).

See studies by J. Paul, ed. (1981), S. Luper-Foy (1987), J. S. Corlett, ed. (1991), J. Wolff (1991), S. A. Hailwood (1996), A. Pampathy Rao (1998), and A. R. Lacey (2001).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The American Philosopher: Conversations with Quine, Davidson, Putnam, Nozick, Danto, Rorty, Cavell, MacIntyre, and Kuhn
Rosanna Crocitto; Giovanna Borradori.
University of Chicago Press, 1994
Anarchy, State, and Utopia
Robert Nozick.
Basic Books, 1974
The Nature of Rationality
Robert Nozick.
Princeton University Press, 1993
Liberalism Undressed
Jethro K. Lieberman.
Oxford University Press, 2012
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Constructing Harm from Natural Rights: The Cases of Locke and Nozick"
The Political Classics: Green to Dworkin
Murray Forsyth; Maurice Keens-Soper.
Oxford University Press, 1996
Skepticism: A Contemporary Reader
Keith DeRose; Ted A. Warfield.
Oxford University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "Philosophical Explanations (Selections)" by Robert Nozick
Modern Political Philosophy
Richard Hudelson.
M. E. Sharpe, 1999
Debates in Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Anthology
Derek Matravers; Jon Pike.
Routledge, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Distributive Justice" by Robert Nozick
The Individual and the Political Order: An Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy
Norman E. Bowie; Robert L. Simon.
Prentice-Hall, 1986 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Nozick or Rawls?" begins on p. 99
The Idea of a Liberal Theory: A Critique and Reconstruction
David Johnston.
Princeton University Press, 1994
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Rights-Based Liberalism"
Justice, Gender, and the Family
Susan Moller Okin.
Basic Books, 1989
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Libertarianism: Matriarchy, Slavery, and Dystopia"
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