Contemporary Political Thought II Robert Nozick Political Science YouTube Lecture Handouts

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Robert Nozick: Contemporary Political Thought - Rights Are Natural, Minimal State| Political Science

Title: Contemporary Political Thought II Robert Nozick


  • Robert Nozick (1938 – 2002) was a renowned American philosopher who first came to be widely known through his 1974 book, Anarchy, State, and Utopia (1974) , which won the National Book Award for Philosophy and Religion in 1975.
  • John Rawls՚ A Theory of Justice, Nozick argued that respect for individual rights is the key standard for assessing state action and, hence, that the only legitimate state is a minimal state that restricts its activities to the protection of the rights of life, liberty, property, and contract.
  • Despite his highly acclaimed work in many other fields of philosophy, Nozick remained best known for the libertarian doctrine advanced in Anarchy, State, and Utopia.

Right Are Natural

Moral rights are understood as state of nature rights. That is, they are rights that precede and provide a basis for assessing and constraining not only the actions of individuals and groups but also the conduct of political and legal institutions. These rights also precede any social contract; they morally constrain the conduct of individuals, groups, and institutions even in the absence of any social contract.

Minimal State

  • Nozick refuted the individualist anarchist՚s claim that no state, not even the minimal, nightwatchman, state can be justified. In this way, Part I is devoted to what Nozick takes to be the fundamental question of political philosophy, viz. , “whether there should be any state at all” .
  • Nozick seeks to counter the anarchist՚s claim by showing how a minimal state essentially a state that is limited to the protection of the rights of person, property, and contract could arise without violating rights.

Literary Works of Nozick

  • Anarchy, State & Utopia.
  • The Examined
  • Philosophical explanations.
  • Justice
  • The Nature of Rationality
  • Equality
  • Socratic Puzzles
  • Invariances: The Structure


1. End state pattern in decision making? Difference from egalitarians and utilitarians? Nozick՚s theory also consider other factors then income and distribution.

2. Who among them follow John Locke in individual Justice:-Robert Nozick

3. Who proposed that there should be a rectification of historical injustices of classes who would have been better otherwise?

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