Locke, Nozick and the state of nature

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4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recently, philosophers have drawn on tools from game theory to explore behavior in Hobbes’ state of nature (Vanderschraaf in Econ Philos 22:243–279, 2006; Chung in J Am Philos Assoc 1:485–508, 2015). I take a similar approach and argue the Lockean state of nature is best conceived of as a conflictual coordination game.I also discuss Nozick’s famous claim regarding the emergence of the state and argue the path to the minimal state is blocked by a hitherto unnoticed free-rider problem. Finally, I argue that on my representation of the Lockean state of nature both widespread conflict and lasting peace are possible. This, I contend, is in line with one popular interpretation of Locke (Simmons in Polit Theory 17:449–470, 1989).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-726
Number of pages22
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Volume177
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Game theory
  • John Locke
  • Robert Nozick
  • Social contract
  • State of nature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy

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