About this topic
Summary

Anarchist philosophy represents a diverse set of viewpoints that are sceptical of political authority and power. Anarchism can be framed as purely negative theoretical idea, i.e. a rejection of the legitimacy of political authority. Adherents of this view, sometimes called ‘philosophical anarchism’, seek to show that arguments for the legitimacy of political authority are unsuccessful. This philosophical anarchism is nevertheless compatible, some suggest, with still maintaining that we are sometimes or indeed often morally justified in conforming with or upholding various state activities, e.g. following the criminal law or agreeing to redistributive taxation. Anarchism can also refer to various political positions that offer a positive vision of how humans should structure their interactions and the ideals to which we should aspire when we associate with our fellows. A broad distinction can be drawn between left-anarchism and anarcho-capitalism. Left-anarchism refers to a diverse family of views, many of which were historically influential as an ideological competitor to state-centric socialism and communism, that espouse distributive equality, common ownership of resources, and/or duties of reciprocity. A guiding preoccupation within left-anarchism explores how to secure social cooperation without leading to the type of domination that they claim is found under statist systems. Thus, left-anarchists broadly reject hierarchical relationships and emphasise relating to one another as free and equal individuals (a notion that has recently been revived in mainstream political philosophy under the guise of social or relational egalitarianism). Anarcho-capitalists, by contrast, place greater emphasis on the individual and negative liberty, focusing on how we can structure cooperation primarily through the mechanism of free market exchange. This emphasis distinguishes the anarcho-capitalist from the left-anarchist, as such negative freedom can be inimical to the collectivist ideals of left-anarchism. For example, anarcho-capitalists uphold the right of individuals to harness their natural talents and strike bargains in such a way as might eventually lead to considerable distributive inequality or the creation of various types of hierarchy. Theorists within this tradition are, among other things, concerned with arguing that market-based systems can efficiently solve classic problems traditionally addressed by the state, such as providing security, creating mutually desirable infrastructures, and solving various types of collective action problem.

Beyond these views, a diverse collection of thinkers develop anarchism in other directions, with varying degrees of compatibility with the positions outlined above. For example, some develop an egoistic version of anarchism as means of pursuing individual perfection, some view anarchism as a method for living in ecological harmony, and others, especially following the Tolstoyan tradition, see anarchism as the natural extension of their religious views.

Key works For scepticism about political authority, see Simmons 1979 or Huemer 2013. For a classic manifesto of left-anarchism, see Kropotkin 2015 or Proudhon 1994 [1840] (who coined the term 'anarchy' as an ideology). Individualistic anarchy is famously defended by Stirner unknown. For recent work on social egalitarianism, see Fourie et al 2015. Anarchism is usefully contrasted with both left and right-libertarian views that are sceptical of true anarchism, see Otsuka 2003 and Nozick 1974. For ecological anarchism, see Bookchin 1982
Introductions See Lefkowitz 2006 on the duty to obey the law. See Chapter 1 of Chomsky 2014 for a readable introduction to anarchist themes. Kropotkin 1910 provides synoptic discussion of anarchism.
Related categories

365 found
Order:
1 — 50 / 365
Material to categorize
  1. Nature Without the State: An Anarchist Critique of ‘Animalistic Evil’.Jason K. Day - 2022 - Studies in the History of Philosophy 13 (3):63-79.
    I here present an anarchist critique of the idea of ‘animalistic evil’ and its common use as a justification for the State’s existence and use of force. On this view, ‘evil’ is a privation of morality, justice, and civilised behaviour. It is then identified with the ‘animalistic’ since animals are often thought to be defined by the aforesaid privation. I first clarify the idea of animalistic evil within the history of philosophy and science. Aristotle (384–322 BCE), Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679), and (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  2. Anarchism and Marxism.Lucien van der Walt - 2017 - In Nathan J. Jun (ed.), Brill's Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy. Brill.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  3. Anarchism and existentialism.Shane Wahl - 2017 - In Nathan J. Jun (ed.), Brill's Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy. Brill.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  4. Anarchism and nineteenth-century American political thought.Crispin Sartwell - 2017 - In Nathan J. Jun (ed.), Brill's Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy. Brill.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  5. Anarchism and phenomenology.Joeri Schrijvers - 2017 - In Nathan J. Jun (ed.), Brill's Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy. Brill.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  6. Anarchism and psychoanalysis.Saul Newman - 2017 - In Nathan J. Jun (ed.), Brill's Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy. Brill.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  7. Anarchism and nineteenth-century European philosophy.Pablo Abufom Silva & Alex Prichard - 2017 - In Nathan J. Jun (ed.), Brill's Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy. Brill.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  8. Anarchism and analytic philosophy.Paul McLaughlin - 2017 - In Nathan J. Jun (ed.), Brill's Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy. Brill.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  9. Anarchism and environmental philosophy.Brian Morris - 2017 - In Nathan J. Jun (ed.), Brill's Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy. Brill.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  10. Anarchism and feminism.Ruth Kinna - 2017 - In Nathan J. Jun (ed.), Brill's Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy. Brill.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  11. Anarchism, poststructuralism, and contemporary European philosophy.Todd May - 2017 - In Nathan J. Jun (ed.), Brill's Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy. Brill.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  12. Anarchism and nationalism.Uri Gordon - 2017 - In Nathan J. Jun (ed.), Brill's Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy. Brill.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  13. Anarchism and sexuality.Sandra Jeppesen & Holly Nazar - 2017 - In Nathan J. Jun (ed.), Brill's Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy. Brill.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  14. Anarchism and markets.Kevin Carson - 2017 - In Nathan J. Jun (ed.), Brill's Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy. Brill.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  15. Anarchism and religion.Alexandre Christoyannopoulos & Lara Apps - 2017 - In Nathan J. Jun (ed.), Brill's Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy. Brill.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  16. Anarchism and pacifism / Andrew Fiala Anarchism and moral philosophy.Benjamin Franks - 2017 - In Nathan J. Jun (ed.), Brill's Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy. Brill.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  17. Anarchism and aesthetics.Allan Antliff - 2017 - In Nathan J. Jun (ed.), Brill's Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy. Brill.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  18. Anarchism and liberalism.Bruce Buchan - 2017 - In Nathan J. Jun (ed.), Brill's Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy. Brill.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  19. Anarchism and philosophy : a critical introduction.Nathan Jun - 2017 - In Nathan J. Jun (ed.), Brill's Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy. Brill.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  20. Anarchism versus objectivism.Harry Binswanger - 2019 - In Gregory Salmieri & Robert Mayhew (eds.), Foundations of a Free Society: Reflections on Ayn Rand's Political Philosophy. University of Pittsburgh Press.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  21. Agri(cultural) resistance : food sovereignty and anarchism in response to the socio-biodiversity crisis.Cassidy Thomas & Leonardo E. Figueroa-Helland - 2021 - In Martin Locret-Collet, Simon Springer, Jennifer Mateer & Maleea Acker (eds.), Inhabiting the Earth: anarchist political ecology for landscapes of emancipation. Rowman & Littlefield.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  22. Epistemological anarchism meets epistemological voluntarism : Feyerabend's against method and van Fraassen's the empirical stance.Martin Kusch - 2021 - In Karim Bschir & Jamie Shaw (eds.), Interpreting Feyerabend: Critical Essays. Cambridge University Press.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  23. Why not anarchism?Jason Brennan & Christopher Freiman - 2022 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 21 (4):415-436.
    Politics, Philosophy & Economics, Volume 21, Issue 4, Page 415-436, November 2022. Recent debates over ideal theory have reinvigorated interest in the question of anarchy. Would a perfectly just society need—or even permit—a state? Ideal anarchists such as Jason Brennan, G.A. Cohen, Christopher Freiman, and Jacob Levy argue that strict compliance with justice obviates the need for a state. Ideal statists such as David Estlund, Gregory Kavka, and John Rawls think that coercive political institutions serve indispensable functions even in ideal (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  24. Kurdish liberty.Jason Dockstader & Rojîn Mûkrîyan - 2021 - Sage Publications Ltd: Philosophy and Social Criticism 48 (8):1174-1196.
    Philosophy & Social Criticism, Volume 48, Issue 8, Page 1174-1196, October 2022. Most politically minded Kurds agree that their people need liberty. Moreover, they agree they need liberation from the domination they suffer from the four states that divide them: Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. What is less certain is the precise nature of this liberty. A key debate that characterizes Kurdish political discourse is over whether the liberty they seek requires the existence of an independent Kurdish nation-state. Abdullah Öcalan, (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  25. Languages of the Unheard: Why Militant Protest is Good for Democracy.Stephen D'Arcy - 2013 - Toronto, ON, Canada: Between the Lines.
    In its opening chapters, ‘Languages of the Unheard’ offers a broad account of militancy as an aid to democracy and a principled response to the intransigence of elites and the unresponsiveness of institutions to the public interest. It proposes an understanding of militancy as a civic virtue and a contribution to democratic politics, relying on a normative conception of ‘autonomous democracy.’ In the second part of the book, this understanding of admirable militancy is applied to a wide range of protest (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  26. Architecture and Anarchism: Building without Authority.Timothy Miller - 2022 - Utopian Studies 33 (2):350-352.
    Visionary architecture is a longstanding part of utopianism, a tangible expression of the utopian imagination. Anarchism is also an essential element in the pantheon of utopian thought and action, since by its nature utopianism, in imagining a better way to be and do, inherently criticizes and undermines the dominant social order. In his latest book Paul Dobraszczyk explores examples of what he calls building without authority, building in a new and often startling fashion, typically contravening established architectural conventions, even if (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  27. Anarchism and moral philosophy.Benjamin Franks - 2017 - In Nathan Jun (ed.), Brill's Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy. pp. 171-195.
    This chapter looks at the pervasiveness of ethical discourses and analyses within anarchism, and how the priority given to moral evaluation distinguished it from rival revolutionary movements, such as orthodox Marxism. It traces the different meta-ethical positions and normative formulations found within anarchist traditions. It argues that a practice-based anti-hierarchical virtue ethics is most consistent with anarchist core commitments to materialism, anti-universalism and social solidarity.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  28. Routledge Handbook of Anarchism and Anarchist Thought.Gary Chartier & Chad Van Schoelandt (eds.) - 2021
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  29. Anarchism for an Ecological Crisis?Dan C. Shahar - 2021 - In Gary Chartier & Chad Van Schoelandt (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Anarchism and Anarchist Thought. pp. 381–392.
  30. Educational Technology: From Educational Anarchism to Educational Totalitarianism.Mikhail Bukhtoyarov & Anna Bukhtoyarova - 2021 - In Igor Cvejić, Predrag Krstić, Nataša Lacković & Olga Nikolić (eds.), Liberating Education: What From, What For? Belgrade, Serbia: Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade. pp. 185-204.
    In the paper, the authors explore the relations between educational technology and educational ideology through the lens of philosophical inquiry. The optics of critical analysis is applied to review the instructional tools, services and systems which compose the complex picture of contemporary educational technology. The authors claim that even when initially established in the ideological domain of educational anarchism most educational technologies when being applied systemically can end up on the more oppressive side of the ideological spectrum close to educational (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  31. 12 Banality and Iniquity: Some Objections to Anarchism.Rossella Di Leo - 2021 - In Giovanna Gioli (ed.), Thinking as Anarchists: Selected Writings From Volontá. Edinburgh University Press. pp. 232-242.
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  32. Anarchism: A Conceptual Approach.Benjamin Franks & Nathan Jun - 2018 - Routledge.
    Anarchism is by far the least broadly understood ideology and the least studied academically. Though highly influential, both historically and in terms of recent social movements, anarchism is regularly dismissed. Anarchism: A Conceptual Approach is a welcome addition to this growing field, which is widely debated but poorly understood. Occupying a distinctive position in the study of anarchist ideology, this volume ¿ authored by a handpicked group of established and rising scholars ¿ investigates how anarchists often seek to sharpen their (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  33. Anarchism and Authority: A Philosophical Introduction to Classical Anarchism.Paul McLaughlin - 2007 - Routledge.
    Examining the political theory of anarchism from a philosophical and historical perspective, Paul McLaughlin relates anarchism to the fundamental ethical and political problem of authority. The book pays particular attention to the authority of the state and the anarchist rejection of all traditional claims made for the legitimacy of state authority, the author both explaining and defending the central tenets of the anarchist critique of the state.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   2 citations  
  34. The Anarchist Way to Socialism: Elisee Reclus and Nineteenth-Century European Anarchism.Marie Fleming - 1979 - Routledge.
    First published in 1979. Elisée Reclus was an important anarchist theorist whose contribution to the radical direction which the European anarchist movement assumed in the late nineteenth century, has been largely neglected by scholars. This study of his thought provides a basis for a general re-assessment of European anarchism, by contributing to an understanding of important dimensions of theory and practice, which previously have not been well understood. Amongst the aspects examined are the anarchist conception of the state, the nature (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  35. Anarchism (Encyclopedia Britannica).Peter Kropotkin - 1910 - Encyclopedia Britannica.
    Synoptic overview of anarchism by Kropotkin.
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  36. On Anarchism.Noam Chomsky - 2014 - Penguin.
    What is Anarchism? Anarchism is a radical scepticism about structures of domination, authority and hierarchy throughout human life, from the patriarchal family to imperialism. The anarchist asks those in power to prove their claims to authority - and argues that if their systems can't be justified then they ought to be dismantled and replaced by something more free and just. In On Anarchism, Noam Chomsky - author, activist and anarchist - offers a vital overview of the meanings of anarchism and (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  37. The Conquest of Bread.Peter Kropotkin - 2015 - Penguin.
    This edition has a large, easy-to-read font. Peter Kropotkin was born a Russian prince whose father owned 1,200 serfs. As he aged, he came to hate the inequality in his society, and renounced his royal title. He was imprisoned and spent decades in exile for his views, which he has laid out in this book. He points out the flaws inherent in feudalism and capitalism, and how our current economic system creates poverty and scarcity even though there are enough resources (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  38. The Anarchist Diet: Vegetarianism and Individualist Anarchism in Early 20th-Century France.Carl Tobias Frayne - 2021 - Journal of Animal Ethics 11 (2):83-96.
    This article uncovers the historical connection between anarchism and vegetarianism in France. In doing so, it restores the significance of a little-known branch of the libertarian movement, namely individualist anarchism. Individualist anarchists sought to transform themselves by applying anarchist principles in their daily lives instead of waiting for a future revolution. Retracing the thoughts and deeds of these forgotten pioneers of the ecological and animal liberation movements, I show that vegetarianism is a striking illustration of anarcho-individualist prefigurative politics and that (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  39. On the edge of anarchism: a realist critique of philosophical anarchism.Zoltán Gábor Szűcs - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy.
    The article examines whether realist theory should adopt a philosophical anarchist position concerning political obligation. The conclusions are mixed. Drawing on a distinction between strong and weak theories of political obligation (in the terminology of the paper, strong theories are committed to morality-based theorizing while weak theories depart from it), the article argues that philosophical anarchism and realist theory are natural allies against strong theories of political obligation but they must part company when it comes to weak theories because it (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  40. Chapter 3 Absolutely Deterritorial: Deleuze, Indigeneity and Ethico-Aesthetic Anarchism as Strategy.Andrew Stones - 2019 - In Chantelle Gray Van Heerden & Aragorn Eloff (eds.), Deleuze and Anarchism. Edinburgh University Press. pp. 47-64.
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  41. Chapter 2 No Gods! No Masters!: From Ontological to Political Anarchism.Thomas Nail - 2019 - In Chantelle Gray Van Heerden & Aragorn Eloff (eds.), Deleuze and Anarchism. Edinburgh University Press. pp. 31-46.
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  42. Chapter 1 Crowned Anarchy-Anarchy-Anarchism – Countereffectuating Deleuze and Guattari’s Politics.Aragorn Eloff - 2019 - In Chantelle Gray Van Heerden & Aragorn Eloff (eds.), Deleuze and Anarchism. Edinburgh University Press. pp. 9-30.
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  43. Anarchism in Deleuze.Jernej Kaluža - 2019 - Deleuze and Guattari Studies 13 (2):267-292.
    In this article, we argue that Deleuze's philosophy could be understood as anarchistic in a specifically defined meaning. The imperative of immanence of thought, which we explicate mainly through the reading of Deleuze's Spinoza, on the one hand establishes indivisibility between theory and practice and on the other hand paradoxically orders disobedience. We argue for a thought that is immanent, adequate with its inner practice, for thought that cannot be forced. That is the basis on which we combine the reading (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  44. 3. On Property and the Philosophy of Poverty: Agamben and Anarchism.Simone Bignall - 2016 - In Daniel McLoughlin (ed.), Agamben and Radical Politics. Edinburgh University Press. pp. 49-70.
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  45. All Things are Nothing to Me: The Unique Philosophy of Max Stirner.Jacob Blumenfeld - 2018 - London, UK: Zero Books.
    Max Stirner’s The Unique and Its Property (1844) is the first ruthless critique of modern society. In All Things are Nothing to Me, Jacob Blumenfeld reconstructs the unique philosophy of Max Stirner (1806–1856), a figure that strongly influenced—for better or worse—Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Emma Goldman as well as numerous anarchists, feminists, surrealists, illegalists, existentialists, fascists, libertarians, dadaists, situationists, insurrectionists and nihilists of the last two centuries. -/- Misunderstood, dismissed, and defamed, Stirner’s work is considered by some to be the (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  46. Deleuze and Anarchism.Chantelle Gray Van Heerden & Aragorn Eloff (eds.) - 2019 - Edinburgh University Press.
    This provocative study forges new and creative connections between Deleuzian philosophy and contemporary film studies.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  47. Anarchism mainstreamed? On recent trends, challenges and opportunities in anarchist scholarship.Giuseppe Maglione - forthcoming - Contemporary Political Theory:1-8.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  48. Domination, the State and Anarchism.James Humphries - 2021 - In Klaus Mathis & Luca Langensand (eds.), Dignity, Diversity, Anarchy. Stuttgart, Germany: pp. 143-168.
    Anarchists standardly critique the state for being illegitimate, and for being dominating in some sense. Often these criticisms come as a bundle: the state is illegitimate because it is dominating. But there are various stories we might tell about the connection between the two; domination makes consent impossible, domination means that the state fails to meet its own justification for existing (or for claiming authority), and so on. I suggest that we should sidestep concerns about consent: in part because it (...)
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  49. Anarchism and the Environmental Crisis.Peter Booth - 1994 - Lancaster University.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  50. Nozick.Helga Varden - 2015 - In Cambridge Rawls Lexicon. pp. 561-564.
    Short lexicon entry on the Rawls-Nozick discussions.
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
1 — 50 / 365