Saturday, April 9, 2016

More On Nozick As Within The Social Contract Tradition


I've been battling hammer and thongs with a guy over the proposition that Robert Nozick can be seen within the social contract tradition. It's actually gotten quite testy, my testiness like Bernie Sanders's: the other guy went testy first.

I need a new thong.

My last to him:


....Nozick's conception of the origins of the state is reminiscent of the social contract tradition in political thought represented by Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and, in contemporary thought, Rawls. For insofar as the state arises out of a process that begins with the voluntary retention by individuals of the services of an agency that will inevitably take on the features of a state, it can be seen to be the result of a kind of contract. The details of the state-originating process in Nozick's account are very different from those of other social contract accounts, however; and, most importantly, for Nozick, unlike other social contract theorists, individual rights do not result from, but exist prior to, any social contract, and put severe constraints on the shape such a contract can take. Furthermore, the parties to the contract in Nozick's conception are to be imagined very much on the model of human beings as we know them in "real life," rather than along the lines of the highly abstractly conceived rational agents deliberating behind a "veil of ignorance" in Rawls's "original position" thought experiment....

All this harrumphing by you over a proposition that's at a minimum arguable. 

(And btw, Locke also posited natural rights preexisting the state, which isn't to say whatever Locke says, Nozick says, which you say I say, but I don't and didn't.)

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