Saturday, 18 January 2014

ASU Ch.3: Moral Constraints and the State, part one

Main threads:

  • A discussion of the idea of the ultra-minimal state, a variation on the minimal state
  • A discussion of the difference between end goals and side constraints. This is in response to a charge of hypocrisy: proponents of an ultra-minimal state seek to avoid rights violations in most cases, but seem to be happy with certain rights violations. Nozick shows that this is not so.
  • A discussion of the nature of side constraints, and how they apply to rights.
  • A reiteration of how far the theory has so far gone, and a recognition of certain problems which will at some point need to be resolved.
  • A discussion of animal rights

ASU Ch. 2: The State of Nature

There are four threads to this chapter.

  1. A brief explanation of John Locke's view of the state of nature
  2. Nozick's own views on the state of nature, leading to his conclusion that a dominant Rights Protection Association (RPA) would emerge.
  3. A discussion of "Invisible Hand explanations". The term invisible hand is, of course, taken from Adam Smith and Nozick applies it in a broad sense, including to his own explanation of the emergence of the state.
  4. An explanation of why Nozick does not believe the dominant RPA constitutes a State.

Friday, 17 January 2014

ASU Ch.1: Why State of Nature theory?

Nozick makes two key arguments in this chapter:
  1. It should be assumed that in the state of nature people "satisfy moral constraints and generally act as they ought."
  2. If a state would arise from the state of nature without violating any rights then this can justify an existing state, even if the way in which the actual state came to be bears no resemblance to the way a non-rights-violating state would emerge.

Anarchy, State and Utopia

I started this blog with the intention of reading through John Rawls' A Theory of Justice and blogging my notes on it. I got through the first chapter or so, but concluded that I would not be able to get through it before the exam for which it might be useful without ignoring all other revision. I have reverted the notes I had on to draft posts, and will hope to get back to ToJ reasonably soon. In the mean time, I will instead be making notes on Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State and Utopia.