This thesis Leaving Libertarianism: Social Ties in Robert Nozick s New Philosophy challenges the general and most widespread portrayals of the American philosopher Robert Nozick (1938-2002) by studying the notion of social ties in his later philosophy.
The point of departure is the present descriptions of Nozick s philosophy. Mostly these depictions are based upon three postulates: That Nozick is an extreme individualist, that the libertarian Anarchy, State, and Utopia (1974) is representative of his philosophy, and that Nozick defended his extreme libertarianism throughout his life. These readings are common among communitarians, liberals, and independent scholars portraying him in reference works.
But Nozick himself explicitly rejected his libertarianism in three subsequent works: The Examined Life (1989) (EL), The Nature of Rationality (1993) (NR), and Socratic Puzzles (1997). Nozick describes his former libertarianism as «seriously inadequate», and he states that is «disconcerting» to be known for a hastily written debut work, which was an «accident». These rejections are generally ignored or treated as insignificant by most present scholars.
The notion social ties is introduced by Nozick when he explains why he now in later years repudiates major conclusions from his well known work. My general approach in this thesis is thus: What are Nozick s views on social ties as represented in his later philosophy?
This idea of social ties is followed throughout EL and NR by studying its connection with the treatments of symbolism, state, and rationality. My findings are, contrary to common belief, that social ties are deeply interconnected with vital parts of Nozick s later philosophy: He argues for forced taxation, limits bequeathing, and restricts free speech because of our social concern, social good and solidarity. And he regards humans as social beings, since our rationality is created in tandem with others. Thus, it is natural to choose social cooperation.
These socio-political views deepen the explicit criticism Nozick gives of his former libertarianism. I thus conclude that Nozick in later years is no libertarian. But he did not become a communitarian either, since he attempted to unite analytical and instrumental methodology with metaphysics. Nozick seemed to seek a no-position beyond classification.
The findings in this thesis implies that the general portrayals of Nozick are inadequate. ASU is not representative of Nozick s thinking rather his odd book out, constituting only 15 percent of his published texts while his matured and thorough philosophy unveils itself in his later works. Hence, the conclusion of this thesis is that we should seek a new understanding of Nozick by accepting and honoring his whole interdisciplinary philosophy.