Escape from Leviathan

Libertarianism without Justificationism

Jan Lester

Date Published :
March 2014
Publisher :
University of Buckingham Press
Format Available    QuantityPrice
ISBN : 9781908684080

In stock


The most relevant and plausible conceptions of economic rationality, interpersonal liberty, human welfare, and private-property anarchy do not conflict in theory or practice. Using philosophy and social science, Escape from Leviathan defends this bold, non-normative, thesis from contrary positions in the scholarly literature. Writers considered include David Friedman, John Gray, R. M. Hare, Robert Nozick, Karl Popper, John Rawls, Murray Rothbard, Alan Ryan, Amartya Sen, and Bernard Williams The rationality assumptions of neoclassical and Austrian School economics are reconciled and related to liberty and welfare. A new pre-propertarian theory of interpersonal liberty as the absence of (initiated or proactively) imposed cost is argued to be libertarian. Human welfare is defended as the satisfaction of unimposed wants. Practical anarchy is simply unconstrained private property. Related topics include free will, weakness of will, the nature of moralizing, intellectual property, and restitution and retribution. Critical-rationalist epistemology (theories can only be criticized and tested, not justified or supported) is applied throughout. This is a ground-breaking work that is also an excellent introduction to libertarianism and social thought.


Escape from Leviathan …remains a ground-breaking work while remaining an excellent introduction to libertarianism and social thought. It is essential reading for anyone interested in liberty and human welfare. Outstanding...he tackles the subject with the consummate skill of an expert in the field...Lester's arguments are presented with sophistication and are informed by an impressive mastery of the secondary literature.

- Norman Barry, Professor of Social and Political Theory, University of Buckingham

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