Welcome

This site is devoted to advancing the rights-based political philosophy first articulated by John Locke and championed prominently in our day by the late Robert Nozick in his classic Anarchy, State, and Utopia [1974].  It will do so by explaining minimal state libertarianism in a way that is accessible to the intelligent general reader and by hosting a forum that will subject its key ideas to scrutiny and debate.

I make my own modest contribution to this cause in my book, Nozick’s Libertarian Project: An Elaboration and Defense (London: Continuum International, 2011). My second book on this subject, Libertarian Philosophy in the Real World: The Politics of Natural Rights, was just published by Bloomsbury Academic. For additional information about libertarianism, this site, my books, and your host, please follow the links to the left.

New on the Blog

My Response to Dr. Post’s Positive Review of LPRW

As noted in my last post, Libertarian Philosophy in the Real World (“LPRW”) received a favorable review from Dr. Matthew Post in Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy. At the risk of “looking a gift horse in the mouth,” I offer my thoughts here about his comments. As mentioned in my earlier post, this review occurs in connection with the author’s efforts to find a plausible way to justify political liberalism in face of what he regards as the formidable obstacles erected by Richard Rorty. This contemporary philosopher has offered a highly influential critique of all attempts to ground philosophical reasoning, including with respect to politics, in any underlying objective truths or “foundations,” which he regards as disguised appeals to social conventions and practices. See Post, 478-9.  Continue Reading »

Positive Review of “Libertarian Philosophy in the Real World”

I am delighted to learn that my most recent book received a quite favorable assessment by Matthew Post in his essay, “The Foundations of ‘Our Culture’: A Review of Three Works on Liberalism and Rights,” which appears in Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy 42:3 (Spring 2016), 477-94. Perhaps my favorite part is this:

It would be misleading, however, to suggest that Friedman simply speaks to shared beliefs. He often offers arguments that are remarkably lucid, succinct, and thorough, and he is honest when he does not know how to solve a problem (489).

I will respond in greater depth to Professor Post’s review as soon as I am able. But for the moment I will simply say that, as may be apparent from his title, my humble defense of libertarian rights against the encroachments of the welfare/regulatory state has been swept up in Post’s search for an answer to the much more daunting question of whether it is possible to establish a foundation for liberalism “while avoiding the problems Rorty identified” (492); meaning, roughly, if we give up our traditional notions of knowledge. Thus, while perhaps I am the first philosopher to in history to say this, I am not sure that Post’s praise (although welcome) is entirely justified.