Individuals have rights and there are things no person or group may do to them (without violating their rights). So strong and far-reaching are these rights that they raise the question of what, if anything, the state and its officials may do. How much room do individual rights leave for the state?

— Robert Nozick

The most reckoning Robert Nozick quotes that may be undiscovered and unusual

Taxation of earnings from labor is on a par with forced labor.

Seizing the results of someone's labor is equivalent to seizing hours from him and directing him to carry on various activities.

77

The trouble with government regulation of the market is that it prohibits capitalistic acts between consenting adults.

49

The illegitimate use of a state by economic interests for their own ends is based upon a preexisting illegitimate power of the state to enrich some persons at the expense of others. Eliminate that illegitimate power of giving differential economic benefits and you eliminate or drastically restrict the motive for wanting political influence.

48

Instead of trying to prove your opponent wrong, try to see in what sense he might be right.

40

Marxian exploitation is the exploitation of people's lack of understanding of economics.

39

No state more extensive than the minimal state can be justified.

31

The socialist society would have to forbid capitalist acts between consenting adults.

27

Is there really someone who, searching for a group of wise and sensitive persons to regulate him for his own good, would choose that group of people that constitute the membership of both houses of Congress?

26

From each as they choose, to each as they are chosen.

19

Through the evolutionary process, those who are able to engage in social cooperation of various sorts do better in survival and reproduction.

19

Some people steal from others, or defraud them, or enslave them, seizing their product and preventing them from living as they choose, or forcibly exclude others from competing in exchanges. None of these are permissible modes of transition from one situation to another.

16

It goes without saying that any persons may attempt to unite kindred spirits, but, whatever their hopes and longings, none have the right to impose their vision of unity upon the rest.

11

About Robert Nozick

Quotes 45 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Philosopher
Birthday October 16

Our principles fix what our life stands for, our aims create the light our life is bathed in, and our rationality, both individual and coordinate, defines and symbolizes the distance we have come from mere animality. It is by these means that our lives come to more than what they instrumentally yield. And by meaning more, our lives yield more.

4

I think philosophers can do things akin to theoretical scientists, in that, having read about empirical data, they too can think of what hypotheses and theories might account for that data. So there's a continuity between philosophy and science in that way.

4

What hadn't been realized in the literature until now is that merely to describe how severely something has been tested in the past itself embodies inductive assumptions, even as a statement about the past.

4

It is, from another angle, an attack on requiring proof in philosophy.

And it's also the case, I guess, that my temperament is to like interesting, new, bold ideas, and to try and generate them.

3

Evolutionary cosmology formulates theories in which a universe is capable of giving rise to and generating future universes out of itself, within black holes or whatever.

3

When I was 15 years old, or 16, I carried around on the streets of Brooklyn a paperback copy of Plato's Republic, front cover facing outward. I had read only some of it and understood less, but I was excited by it and knew it was something wonderful.

3

Whatever the practical origins of aesthetic discernment may have been, it has been used to create great works of art. When the very loftiest human creations are seen to derive from humble origins and functions, what needs revision is not our esteem for these creations but our notion of nobility.

2

No one has ever announced that because determinism is true thermostats do not control temperature.

2

Whatever arises from a just situation by just steps is itself just.

0

Given the complexity of interpersonal relationships and institutions and the complexity of co-ordination of the actions of many people, it is enormously unlikely that, even if there were one ideal pattern for society, it could be arrived at in an a priori fashion. And even supposing that some great genius did come along with a blueprint, who could have the confidence that it could work

0

Taxation of earnings from labor is on a par with forced labor.

0

Wisdom is not just knowing fundamental truths, if these are unconnected with the guidance of life or with a perspective on its meaning. If the deep truths physicists describe about the origin and functioning of the universe have little practical import and do not change our picture of the meaning of the universe and our place within it, then knowing them would not count as wisdom.

0

In a free system any large, popular, revolutionary movement should be able to bring about its ends by such a voluntary process. As more and more people see how it works more and more will wish to participate in or support it. And so it will grow, without being necessary to force everyone or a majority or anyone into the pattern.

0

The fact that we don't keep repeating tests in the same arena is not because the probability of the hypothesis showing its falsity in other arenas goes up after it has passed tests in one arena.

0

A distribution is just if it arises from another just distribution by legitimate means.

0

Whoever makes something having bought or contracted for all other held resources used in the process (transferring some of his holdings for these cooperating factors), is entitled to it. The situation is not one of something's getting made, and there being an open question of who is to get it. Things come into the world already attached to people having entitlements over them.

0

Our main conclusions about the state are that a minimal state, limited, to the narrow functions of protection against force, theft, fraud, enforcement of contracts, and so on, is justified, but any more extensive state will violate persons' rights not to be forced to do certain things, and is unjustified; and that the minimal state is inspiring as well as right.

0

I guess my tendency is to think essentially that the new wrinkles won't do the job if the old major idea didn't, and so you have to try something different. Then maybe they can all be combined in some coherent piece.

0

Certainly the emphasis I place in this chapter on coordination of behavior and cooperation to mutual benefit is something that ought to be very congenial to people in the libertarian tradition.

0

Only the refusal to listen guarantees one against being ensnared by the truth.

0

There is room for words on subjects other than last words.

0

Utopia is a meta-utopia: the environment in which Utopian experiments may be tried out; the environment in which people are free to do their own thing; the environment which must, to a great extent, be realized first if more particular Utopian visions are to be realized stably.

0

The scientists often have more unfettered imaginations than current philosophers do. Relativity theory came as a complete surprise to philosophers, and so did quantum mechanics, and so did other things.

0

Why are philosophers intent on forcing others to believe things? Is that a nice way to behave towards someone?

0

What else can matter to us, other than how our lives feel from the inside?

0

There is no justifiable prediction about how the hypothesis will hold up in the future; its degree of corroboration simply is a historical statement describing how severely the hypothesis has been tested in the past.

0

You can't satisfy everybody; especially if there are those who will be dissatisfied unless not everybody is satisfied.

0

Some communities will be abandoned, others will struggle along, others will split, others will flourish, gain members, and be duplicated elsewhere. Each community must win and hold the voluntary adherence of its members. No pattern is imposed on everyone, and the result will be one pattern if and only if everyone voluntarily chooses to live in accordance with that pattern of community.

0

It's the level that allows us each to live our own chosen lives.

But I notice not everyone agrees with the primary importance of that level, and I try to account for how they don't.

0

And although it might be best of all to be Socrates satisfied, having both happiness and depth, we would give up some happiness in order to gain the depth.

0

Examples one finds in the philosophical literature are somebody who's seen the trial of a child of theirs, where they're being proved guilty of some crime that would drive the parent into a depression, maybe a suicidal depression.

0

Justice in holdings is historical; it depends upon what actually has happened. We shall return to this point later.

0
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