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How Persuasive Is Nozick's Account Of How A Minimal State Could Emerge From A Suitably Specified State Of Nature Without Violating Anyone's Rights?

1055 words - 5 pages

How persuasive is Nozick's account of how a minimal state could emerge from a suitably specified state of nature without violating anyone's rights?
In Anarchy, State, and Utopia Nozick gives extreme importance to self-ownership. It is from here that the rights and then the minimal state originate from. As individuals own themselves, they cannot be treated as means and must be seen as ends, in Kantian fashion (Chia, 2010). Individuals are inviolable like Kant describes them and self-owners therefore; Nozick states that we have absolute rights to life, liberty and rights to property. These rights function as side constraints on the action of others in the sense they set limits on how others ...view middle of the document...

According to Nozick, the minimal state emerges from the state of nature through series of steps. John Locke considers a nature of state where everyone is their own judge. However, Nozick establishes few problems with the nature of state. He states that men who judge their own case in the state of nature “will always give themselves the benefit of the doubts and assume they are in the right…punish others more than proportionately and to exact excessive compensation….Also, in the state of nature a person may lack the power to enforce his rights; he may be unable to punish or exact compensation from a stronger adversary who has violated them” (Nozick, 1974, pg.11-12) Nozick argues that because of the reasons outlined above individuals in the state of nature will endeavour to improve their position and therefore will perform actions which will bring about a minimal state. It is worth noting that a minimal state will arise unconsciously where no one intended this, this is also known as the invisible hand process (Wollf, pg.42). Nozick points out several stages between the state of nature and minimal state. The first stage is the formation of protective agencies or association. ''In a state of nature an individual may himself enforce his rights, defend himself, exact compensation, and punish" (Nozick, 1974, pg.12). So therefore, even in well behaved state, some violations of rights will occur so men will find it more efficient to hire these protective agencies that can protect them (Althan, 1977). However, this protective association “has no rights of action other than the sum of the rights delegated to it by its subscribers” (Barnett, 1977, pg.15)
In time, one agency in a geographical territory will become dominant and come to be the only association within a territory. But it is not yet a state because it does not ‘‘announce that, to the best of its ability… it will punish everyone whom it discovers to have used force without its permission,’’ and second, ‘‘under it… only those paying for protection get protected’’ (Nozick, 1974, p. 24). This basically deals with the question that how will DPA deal with those who...

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