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© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Robert Nozick: Selected full-text books and articles

Anarchy, State, and Utopia By Robert Nozick Basic Books, 1974
The Nature of Rationality By Robert Nozick Princeton University Press, 1993
Liberalism Undressed By 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 By Murray Forsyth; Maurice Keens-Soper Oxford University Press, 1996
Skepticism: A Contemporary Reader By Keith DeRose; Ted A. Warfield Oxford University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "Philosophical Explanations (Selections)" by Robert Nozick
Modern Political Philosophy By Richard Hudelson M. E. Sharpe, 1999
Debates in Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Anthology By 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 By 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 By David Johnston Princeton University Press, 1994
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Rights-Based Liberalism"
Justice, Gender, and the Family By Susan Moller Okin Basic Books, 1989
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Libertarianism: Matriarchy, Slavery, and Dystopia"
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