Winner of the 1975 National Book Award, this brilliant and widely acclaimed book is a powerful philosophical challenge to the most widely held political and social positions of our age--liberal, socialist, and conservative.
Repeatedly and successfully, the celebrated Harvard philosopher Robert Nozick has reached out to a broad audience beyond the confines of his discipline, addressing ethical and social problems that matter to every thoughtful person. Here Nozick continues his search for the connections between philosophy and "ordinary" experience. In the lively and accessible style that his readers have come to expect, he offers a bold theory of rationality, the one characteristic deemed to fix humanity's "specialness." What are principles for? asks Nozick. We (...) could act simply on whim, or maximize our self-interest and recommend that others do the same. As Nozick explores rationality of decision and rationality of belief, he shows how principles actually function in our day-to-day thinking and in our efforts to live peacefully and productively with each other. Throughout, the book combines daring speculations with detailed investigations to portray the nature and status of rationality and the essential role that imagination plays in this singular human aptitude. (shrink)
The author states that by examining his understanding of dying, sex, love, the Holocaust, politics, and other topics, they bring forth ideas, questions, and statements, and that the subjects automatically project into the mind.
Robert Nozick (1938-2002) was Pellegrino University Professor at Harvard University. His early book in political theory, Anarchy, State, and Utopia, was very influential, and he followed it with Philosophical Explanations, The Examined Life, The Nature of Rationality, Socratic Puzzles, and Invariances: The Structure of the Objective World.
The night-watchman state of classical liberal theory, limited to the functions of protecting all its citizens against violence, theft, and fraud, and to the enforcement of contracts, and so on, appears to be redistributive.1 We can imagine at least one social arrangement intermediate between the scheme of private protective associations and the night-watchman state. Since the nightwatchman state is often called a minimal state, we shall call this other arrangement the ultraminimal state. An ultraminimal state maintains a monopoly over all (...) use of force except that necessary in immediate selfdefence, and so excludes private (or agency) retaliation for wrong and exaction of compensation; but it provides protection and enforcement services only to those who purchase its protection and enforcement policie., People who don't buy a protection contract from the monopoly don't get protected. The minimal (night-watchman) state is equivalent to the ultraminimal state conjoined with a (clearly redistributive) Friedmanesque voucher plan, financed from tax revenues.2 Under this plan all people, or some (for example, those in need), are given tax-funded vouchers that can be used only for their purchase of a protection policy from the ultraminimal state. (shrink)
Do our lives have meaning? Should we create more people? Is death bad? Should we commit suicide? Would it be better if we were immortal? Should we be optimistic or pessimistic? Life, Death, and Meaning brings together key readings, primarily by English-speaking philosophers, on such 'big questions.'.
Do our lives have meaning? Should we create more people? Is death bad? Should we commit suicide? Would it be better to be immortal? Should we be optimistic or pessimistic? Since Life, Death, and Meaning: Key Philosophical Readings on the Big Questions first appeared, David Benatar's distinctive anthology designed to introduce students to the key existential questions of philosophy has won a devoted following among users in a variety of upper-level and even introductory courses.