Robert Nozick quotes

  • 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.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Taxation #Politics #Earning

  • 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

    #Strong #Rights #What If

  • 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.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Giving #Political #Use

  • 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.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Imagination #Philosopher #Surprise

  • The socialist society would have to forbid capitalist acts between consenting adults.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Adults #Socialist #Capitalist

  • 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?
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Wise #People #House

  • 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.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Vision #Unity #May

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

    #Survival #Engagement #Able

  • 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.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #People #Transition #Stealing

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

    #Satisfied #Dissatisfied

  • No state more extensive than the minimal state can be justified.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Justified #States

  • 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.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #People #Vision #May

  • 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.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Rights #Enforcement #Justified

  • 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.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Struggle #Winning #Ifs And

  • Marxian exploitation is the exploitation of people's lack of understanding of economics.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #People #Understanding #Economics

  • 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.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Giving #Black #Theory

  • 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.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Philosophy #Thinking #Data

  • 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
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Fashion #People #Genius

  • Philosophical argument, trying to get someone to believe something whether he wants to believe it or not, is not, I have held, a nice way to behave towards someone; also it does not fit the original motivation for studying or entering philosophy. That motivation is puzzlement, curiousity, a desire to understand, not a desire to produce uniformity of belief. Most people do not want to become thought-police. The philosophical goal of explanation rather than proof not only is morally better, it is more in accord with one's philosophical motivation.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Motivation #Philosophy #Nice

  • 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.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Giving Up #Order #Might

  • Only the refusal to listen guarantees one against being ensnared by the truth.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Guarantees #Refusal

  • One way to determine if a view is inadequate is to check its consequences in particular cases, sometimes extreme ones, but if someone always decided what the result should be in any case by applying the given view itself, this would preclude discovering it did not correctly fit the case. Readers who hold they would plug in to the machine should notice whether their first impulse was not to do so, followed later by the thought that since only experiences could matter, the machine would be all right after all.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Views #Would Be #Machines

  • 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.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Past #Literature #Assumption

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

    #Justice #Historical #Return

  • The terminology of philosophical art is coercive: arguments are powerful and best when they are knockdown, arguments force you to a conclusion, if you believe the premisses you have to or must believe the conclusion, some arguments do not carry much punch, and so forth. A philosophical argument is an attempt to get someone to believe something, whether he wants to beleive it or not. A successful philosophical argument, a strong argument, forces someone to a belief.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Strong #Art #Powerful

  • 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.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #People #Support #Wish

  • 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.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Distance #Mean #Light

  • 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.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Art #Humble #Needs

  • 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.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Plato #Years #Brooklyn

  • 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.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Suicide #Children #Philosophical

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

    #Government #Regulation #Adults

  • 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.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Jobs #Thinking #Ideas

  • 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.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Philosophy #Ideas #Interesting

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

    #Nice #Philosophy #Believe

  • Whatever arises from a just situation by just steps is itself just.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Justice #Steps #Arise

  • A distribution is just if it arises from another just distribution by legitimate means.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Mean #Arise #Distribution

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

    #Matter #Feels

  • 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.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #People #World #Entitlement

  • There is room for words on subjects other than last words.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Rooms #Lasts #Last Words

  • From each as they choose, to each as they are chosen.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Inspirational #Chosen

  • 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.
    -- Robert Nozick

    #Knowing #Perspective #Fundamentals