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Nozick’s libertarian critique of Regan

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-05-23, 09:24 authored by Josh MilburnJosh Milburn

Robert Nozick’s oft-quoted review of Tom Regan’s The Case for Animal Rights levels a range of challenges to Regan’s philosophy. Many commentators have focussed on Nozick’s putative defence of speciesism, but this has led to them overlooking other aspects of the critique. In this paper, I draw attention to two. First is Nozick’s criticism of Regan’s political theory, which is best understood relative to Nozick’s libertarianism. Nozick’s challenge invites the possibility of a libertarian account of animal rights – which is not as oxymoronic as it may first sound. Second is Nozick’s criticism of Regan’s axiological theory, which is best understood relative to Nozick’s own axiological inegalitarianism. While Nozick’s axiology has distasteful consequences, it should not be dismissed out-of-hand. Nozick’s challenges to Regan – and Nozick’s wider animal ethics – are rich and original, warranting attention from contemporary theorists for reasons beyond mere historical interest. 

Funding

The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • International Relations, Politics and History

Published in

Between the Species: an online journal for the study of philosophy and animals

Volume

21

Issue

1

Pages

68 - 93

Publisher

California Polytechnic State University

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© Josh Milburn

Publisher statement

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Between the Species and the definitive published version is available at https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/bts/vol21/iss1/3

Publication date

2018-04-30

Copyright date

2018

eISSN

1945-8487

Language

  • en

Depositor

Dr Josh Milburn. Deposit date: 28 March 2022

Article number

3

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