Robert Nozick


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Harvard philosopher. Nozick's early reputation rested on Anarchy, State, and Utopia (1974), an uncompromising rejection of more than minimal state action, and in particular a rebuttal of redistributive taxation, as had been advocated by John Rawls. The result is a libertarian heaven of absolute property rights, at any rate for those who possess any property. Philosophical Explanations (1981) was a wider-ranging exploration of epistemology and metaphysics, most memorable for its defence of a counterfactual account of knowledge, highlighting the idea of a knowing subject ‘tracking’ the truth, and notoriously challenging the deductive closure principle. Later works included The Examined Life (1989) and Invariances: The Structure of the Objective World (2001).

Subjects: Philosophy.

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