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J. C. Lester
London School of Economics
  1.  31
    Abortion and Infanticide: A Triple Libertarian and Critical-Rationalist Defence.J. C. Lester - manuscript
    From libertarian and critical-rationalist assumptions, the moral permissibility of abortion and infanticide can be explained and defended in three principal ways; although non-libertarians and justificationists could also accept these arguments. These include theories of personhood and harm-infliction. The three defences are independent of each other but collectively consistent. 1) The unborn and infant human is not a person in the relevant intellectual and moral sense. 2) There is no overall proactive imposition (harm-infliction), as the unborn or infant human is only (...)
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  2.  25
    Peter Singer’s “Famine, Affluence, and Morality”: Three Libertarian Refutations.J. C. Lester - manuscript
    Peter Singer’s famous and influential essay is criticised in three main ways that can be considered libertarian, although many non-libertarians could also accept them: 1) it mistakes the relevant moral principle, which more plausibly relates to easily-satisfied local contracts (fitting Hayek’s “Great Society”) rather than impractically-onerous global intuitions (with evolutionary origins); 2) its suggested principle of the immorality of not doing good is paradoxical as it overlooks the converse aspect that would be the positive morality of not doing bad, and (...)
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  3.  14
    Immigration and Libertarianism: Open Borders Versus Directionalism.J. C. Lester - manuscript
    There is a long and continuing debate on the correct libertarian approach to immigration. This essay first imagines a minimal-state libertarian UK, and then the introduction of several relevant anti-libertarian policies and their increasingly disastrous effects. It is argued that ‘reversing’ these imagined policies, as far as is politically possible, would be the correct way forward. Several open-border texts are then criticised, mainly for overlooking the likely huge scale of immigration. The conclusion outlines three broad options on immigration and suggests (...)
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  4.  66
    New-Paradigm Libertarianism: A Very Brief Explanation.J. C. Lester - manuscript
    Mainstream private-property libertarianism—in its various forms—is severely philosophically confused. It conflates conceptions or theories of rights, consequences, property, and supporting ‘justifications’. And this is all without any theory of liberty (an eleutherology), which is as absurd as if utilitarianism were to have no theory of utility. New-Paradigm Libertarianism corrects these errors.
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  5.  42
    Arguing with "Libertarianism Without Argument": Critical Rationalism and How It Applies to Libertarianism.J. C. Lester - manuscript
    This is a response to “Libertarianism without Argument”. Various misunderstandings in that text are given replies. Both critical rationalism and how it applies to libertarianism are elucidated and elaborated.
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  6.  66
    The Disability Studies Industry.J. C. Lester - 2016 - In Arguments for Liberty: a Libertarian Miscellany. Buckingham, England: The University of Buckingham Press. pp. 83-94.
    This brief monograph was written in an attempt to discover the general situation of Disability Studies, given that this appears to have become a growth area in academia with various typically illiberal aspects. The findings bear out the initial impression. There is a style of argument, even propaganda (for there is usually little genuine engagement with opposing liberal views), that can be seen in many other areas of academia. It amounts to a relatively new ‘progressive’ industry with various fashionable keywords, (...)
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  7.  60
    A Sceptical Look at “A Skeptical Look at Karl Popper”.J. C. Lester - 2016 - In Arguments for Liberty: A Libertarian Miscellany. Buckingham, England: the University of Buckingham Press. pp. 102-107.
    It is an irony to attack a more sceptical epistemology than one's own in the name of scepticism and defend, instead, an epistemology that is positively illogical. And yet that is what Martin Gardner has done in his “A Skeptical Look at Karl Popper.”.
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  8.  63
    A Critical Commentary on Block 2011: "David Friedman and Libertarianism: A Critique" and a Comparison with Lester [2000] 2012's Responses to Friedman.J. C. Lester - 2014 - In Explaining Libertarianism: Some Philosophical Arguments. Buckingham, England: The University of Buckingham Press. pp. 106-143.
    David Friedman posed a number of libertarian philosophical problems (Friedman 1989). This essay criticizes Walter Block’s Rothbardian responses (Block 2011) and compares them with J C Lester’s critical-rationalist, libertarian-theory responses (Lester [2000] 2012). The main issues are as follows. 1. Critical rationalism and how it applies to libertarianism. 2.1. How libertarianism is not inherently about law and is inherently about morals. 2.2. How liberty relates to property and can be maximized: carbon dioxide and radio waves. 2.3. Applying the theory to (...)
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  9.  50
    What's Wrong with "What's Wrong with Libertarianism": A Reply to Jeffrey Friedman.J. C. Lester - 2016 - In Arguments for Liberty: A Libertarian Miscellany. pp. 95-101.
    This essay explains Jeffrey Friedman's two fundamental and persistent philosophical errors concerning the libertarian conception of liberty and the lack of a "justification‟ of libertarianism. It is ironic that Friedman himself is thereby revealed to be guilty of both an “a priori” anti-libertarianism and an anti-libertarian “straddle.” Critical-rationalist, proactive-imposition-minimising libertarianism remains completely unchallenged by him.
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  10.  46
    Against Against Intellectual Property: A Short Refutation of Meme Communism.J. C. Lester - 2016 - In Arguments for Liberty: A Libertarian Miscellany. Buckingham, England: The University of Buckingham Press. pp. 148-154.
    This essay is intended to be a refutation of the main thesis in Against Intellectual Property, Kinsella 2008 (hereafter, K8). Points of agreement, relatively trivial disagreement, and irrelevant issues will largely be ignored, as will much repetition of errors in K8. Otherwise, the procedure is to go through K8 quoting various significantly erroneous parts as they arise and explaining the errors involved. It will not be necessary to respond at the same length as K8 itself.
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  11. The Political Compass (and Why Libertarianism is Not Right-Wing).J. C. Lester - 1996 - Journal of Social Philosophy 27 (2):176-186.
    The political distinction between left and right remains ideologically muddled. This was not always so, but an immediate return to the pristine usage is impractical. Putting a theory of social liberty to one side, this essay defends the interpretation of left-wing as personal-choice and right-wing as property-choice. This allows an axis that is north/choice (or state-free) and south/control (or state-ruled). This Political Compass clarifies matters without being tendentious or too complicated. It shows that what is called ‘libertarianism’ is north-wing. A (...)
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  12.  29
    Adversus “Adversus Homo Economicus”: Critique of the “Critique of Lester’s Account of Instrumental Rationality”.J. C. Lester - manuscript
    This essay goes through Frederick 2015 (F15) in some detail, responding to the various paraphrases and criticisms therein. It is argued that in each case F15 is mistaken about what Lester 2012 (L12) says, or about what F15 presents as a sound criticism, or both. It is concluded that the philosophical theory of new-paradigm libertarianism that L12 (etc.) comprises has yet to be given adequate critical consideration, and that almost all libertarian texts still fall foul of the three fundamental errors (...)
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  13.  38
    Intellectual Property, the Non-Aggression Principle, and Pre-Propertarian Liberty: New-Paradigm Libertarian Replies to Some Rothbardian Criticisms.J. C. Lester - 2016 - In Arguments for Liberty: A Libertarian Miscellany. Buckingham, England: The University of Buckingham Press. pp. 160-183.
    Andy Curzon replied (often quoting from the opening sections of Lester 2014, chapter 10) in an ongoing debate with Lee Waaks, which Mr Waaks forwarded (with approval) to the Libertarian Alliance Forum (27 February 2015). This response replies to the criticisms after directly quoting them (the indented text; except where Lester is occasionally quoted, as indicated). A few cuts have been made to avoid some repetition and irrelevance. However, just as Mr Curzon sometimes repeats his main points in slightly different (...)
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  14.  38
    Right to Roam or Licence to Trespass?J. C. Lester - 2016 - In Arguments for Liberty: a Libertarian Miscellany. pp. 77-82.
    Under no circumstances should the absurd "right to roam‟ be incorporated into the legislation of this country. In reality, it is clearly a mere licence to trespass. Armed with the appropriate economic and philosophical arguments, we should eventually be able to offer an effective counter-attack with a movement for the "right to own‟ privately every last one of the state-controlled commons, heaths, hills, mountains, downs, woodlands, rivers, beaches, and footpaths. As a result, there will be no imposition on legitimate landowners (...)
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  15.  37
    A Response to "Libertarianism and Pollution: The Limits of Absolutist Moralism".J. C. Lester - 2016 - In Arguments for Liberty: A Libetarian Miscellany. Buckingham, England: The University of Buckingham Press. pp. 155-159.
    Most self-identified libertarians unwittingly have a moral muddle without a central factual theory of liberty. They cannot yet see that they first need to sort out what liberty is, and therefore entails if instantiated, and only after that can moral questions about it be coherently raised and tackled.
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  16.  31
    Libertarianism: An Extremely Short Introduction.J. C. Lester - 2016 - In Arguments for Liberty: A Libertarian Miscellany. pp. 1-6.
    (Revised 31-10-17) This is only one view on the topic; other views may be rather different. It starts at the more philosophical end and then becomes more empirical, and possibly easier to understand, as it proceeds.
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  17.  32
    Alan Haworth Anti-Libertarianism[REVIEW]J. C. Lester - 1997 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 14:92-92.
    In this book Alan Haworth tends to sneer at libertarians. However, there are, I believe, a few sound criticisms. I have always held similar opinions of Murray Rothbard‟s and Friedrich Hayek‟s definitions of liberty and coercion, Robert Nozick‟s account of natural rights, and Hayek‟s spontaneous-order arguments. I urge believers of these positions to read Haworth. But I don‟t personally know many libertarians who believe them (or who regard Hayek as a libertarian).
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  18.  9
    The Augean Stables of Academe: How to Remove the Authoritarian Bias in Universities.J. C. Lester - 2018 - Misesuk.Org.
    The “free world” was the political rhetoric used during the Cold War in contrast to the “communist” countries. However, the “free world” was manifestly never free: the state considerably interfered with people in their persons and their property. And the “communist” countries were manifestly never communist: there was no common ownership of the means of production with the absence of social classes, money, and the state. It would have been more accurate to call them the “authoritarian world” and the “totalitarian (...)
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  19.  23
    A Libertarian Response to Macleod 2012: “If You’Re a Libertarian, How Come You’Re So Rich?”.J. C. Lester - 2014 - In Explaining Libertarianism: Some Philosophical Arguments. Buckingham, England: The University of Buckingham Press. pp. 95-105.
    acquisitions requires rich libertarians to give away everything in excess of equality. At first, problematic questions are raised. How much property is usually inherited or illegitimate? Why should legitimate inheritance be affected? What of the burden of proof and court cases? A counterfactual problem is addressed. Three important cases are considered: great earned wealth; American slavery; land usurpation. All are argued to be problematic for Macleod 2012’s thesis. Various problems are explained concerning using the Nozickian argument to decide the alleged (...)
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  20.  21
    Apriorist Self-Interest: How It Embraces Altruism and is Not Vacuous.J. C. Lester - 1997 - Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems 20 (3):221-232.
    This essay is part of an attempt to reconcile two extreme views in economics: the (neglected) subjective, apriorist approach and the (standard) objective, scientific (i.e., falsifiable) approach. The Austrian subjective view of value, building on Carl Menger’s theory of value, was developed into a theory of economics as being entirely an a priori theory of action. This probably finds its most extreme statement in Ludwig von Mises’ Human Action (1949). In contrast, the standard economic view has developed into making falsifiable (...)
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  21.  21
    The Three Great Errors of Most Libertarians: A Concise Philosophical Analysis.J. C. Lester - 2014 - In Explaining Libertarianism: Some Philoophical Arguments. Buckingham, England: The University of Buckingham Press. pp. 1-6.
    Libertarians are mistaken to seek foundations, to take sides over moral approaches, and to have no proper theory of liberty.
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  22.  19
    Popper's Epistemology Versus Popper's Politics: A Libertarian Viewpoint.J. C. Lester - 1995 - Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems 18 (1):87-93.
    What is my thesis? It is not that radical experimentation by the state, rather than liberal democracy, is more in accord with the spirit and logic of Popper’s ‘revolutionary’ epistemology. It is the opposite criticism, that full anarchic libertarianism (individual liberty and the free market without any state interference) better fits Popper’s epistemology and scientific method.
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  23.  15
    Behind the Caricature: Reply to a Befuddled Author.J. C. Lester - 2016 - In Arguments for Liberty: A Libertarian Miscellany. Buckingham, England: The University of Buckingham Press. pp. 72-76.
    The editors of the Journal of Applied Philosophy allowed Alan Haworth to reply to my short review of his Anti-Libertarianism. The editors would not allow me to respond to Haworth. Thanks to the openness of internet publication and the Libertarian Alliance website, this can now be rectified and Haworth's reply can no longer escape a public critical response.
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  24.  18
    A Reply to Frederick 2013: “A Critique of Lester’s Account of Liberty”.J. C. Lester - 2014 - In Explaining Libertarianism: Some Philosophical Arguments. Buckingham, England: The University of Buckingham Press. pp. 155-199.
    Frederick 2013 (F13) offers criticisms of the Lester 2012 (L12) theory of libertarian liberty and of its compatibility with preference-utilitarian welfare and private-property anarchy. This reply to F13 first explains the underlying philosophical problem with libertarian liberty and L12’s solution. It then goes through F13 in detail showing that it does not grasp the problem or the solution and offers only misrepresentations and unsound criticisms.
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  25.  16
    The Uncogent Auxiliary Hypotheses of Gordon and Modugno: Reply to a Review.J. C. Lester - 2014 - In Explaining Libertarianism: Some Philosophical Arguments. Buckingham, England: The University of Buckingham Press. pp. 144-154.
    Lester‘s reply to the review by Gordon and Modugno of Escape from Leviathan was due to appear in a later edition of the same periodical, but it was eventually dropped without notice or a reason being given. Subsequently, their review has occasionally been cited in isolation as a refutation of that book‘s theory of liberty, the compatibility of such liberty with welfare maximisation, and the use of "Popperian views" as though a complete reply did not exist and were not freely (...)
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  26.  62
    Kymlicka on Libertarianism: A Critical Response.J. C. Lester - 2014 - In Explaining Libertarianism: Some Philosophical Arguments. Buckingham, England: The University of Buckingham Press. pp. 7-30.
    This essay examines sections relevant to libertarianism in Will Kymlicka’s Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction (2nd ed.), making and explaining the following criticisms. Kymlicka’s “preface” misconstrues political philosophy’s progress, purpose, and its relation to libertarianism. In his “introduction”, his “project” mistakes libertarianism as “right-wing”, justice as compromise among “existing theories”, and equality as the “ultimate value.” His “a note on method” in effect takes as axioms, beyond philosophical examination, various alleged desiderata and the necessary moral role of the state. Moreover, (...)
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  27.  14
    In Defence of the Realm: The Place of Nations in Classical Liberalism David Conway. [REVIEW]J. C. Lester - 2006 - Journal of Libertarian Studies 20 (3):81.
    This book has many arguments doing an excellent job of dismantling the positions of those who would have the state do considerably more than defend the national realm. Thus far, it is hard for me to fault it—which is more difficult when one is already in agreement: the ideologically opposed can often provide more useful criticisms. But, as the book‟s title indicates, it does not go all the way to anarcho-liberalism (in fact, it does not even fully embody certain basic (...)
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  28.  13
    On Nozick by Edward Feser. [REVIEW]J. C. Lester - 2005 - Journal of Libertarian Studies 19 (3):103.
    This is an excellent though largely uncritical introduction to, and defence of, Robert Nozick‟s Anarchy, State and Utopia (New York: Basic Books, 1974). It is also quite a good introduction to libertarianism. It is full of good arguments. I shall confine myself to critical remarks. My responses are mainly in the order that matters arise in the book.
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  29.  13
    A Plague on Both Your Statist Houses: Why Libertarian Restitution Beats State-Retribution and State-Leniency.J. C. Lester - 2005 - In Simple justice / Charles Murray ; commentaries, Rob Allen ; edited by David Conway.
    Charles Murray describes himself as a libertarian, most notably in his short book, What it Means to be a Libertarian. He might more accurately have described himself as having libertarian tendencies. My reading of Simple Justice is that the views it espouses are far more traditionalist than libertarian. Neither traditionalist state-retribution nor modernist state-leniency is libertarian. Nor does either provide as just or efficient a response to crime as does libertarian restitution, including restitutive retribution. Here, I shall respond directly only (...)
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  30.  13
    Vallentyne 2010 and Zwolinski 2008 on "Libertarianism": Some Philosophical Responses to These Encyclopaedia Articles.J. C. Lester - 2014 - In Explaining Libertarianism: Some Philosophical Arguments. Buckingham, England: The University of Buckingham Press. pp. 43-63.
    Vallentyne 2010 and Zwolinski 2008 are internet encyclopaedia articles on “libertarianism” which include various serious faults. Vallentyne 2010 has the following ones. It does not properly explain mainstream libertarianism or consider criticisms of it. Instead, it mainly discusses self-ownership and natural-resource egalitarianism. Every aspect of the alleged “strict sense” of “libertarianism” is dubi ous, at best. So- called “left - libertarianism” is not made sense of as any kind of liberty-based libertarianism. Problems arise because self-ownership is assumed to be libertarian (...)
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  31.  12
    A Critical Commentary on the Zwolinski 2013 "Libertarianism and Liberty" Essays.J. C. Lester - 2014 - In Explaining Libertarianism: some Philosophical Arguments. Buckingham, England: The University of Buckingham Press. pp. 64-84.
    The Zwolinski 2013 “libertarianism and liberty” essays on libertarianism.org are argued to have the following problems: taking libertarianism to be a “commitment” to the view that “libe rty is the highest political value”; examining and rejecting the maximization of liberty without a libertarian theory of liberty; accepting a persuasive sense of “coercion”; misunderstanding liberty in the work place; conflating, to varying degrees, freedom of action and freedom from aggression and justice/rights/morals; focusing on logically possible clashes instead of practically possible congruence (...)
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  32.  48
    Libertarian Rectification: Restitution, Retribution, and the Risk-Multiplier.J. C. Lester - 2000 - Journal of Value Inquiry 34 (2/3):287-297.
    Libertarians typically object to having the state deal with law and order for several general reasons: it is inefficient; it is carried out at the expense of taxpayers; and it punishes so-called victimless crimes. Exactly what the observance of liberty implies with respect to the treatment of tortfeasors and criminals is more controversial among libertarians. A pure theory of libertarian restitution and retribution is mainly what is attempted here, without becoming involved in general moral anti-state arguments. However, the pure theory (...)
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  33.  9
    Civil Society and Civil Liberties—or Libertarian Liberty Instead? [REVIEW]J. C. Lester - 1995 - Times Higher Education:n.
    I fill Ernest Gellner with disgust: disgust at my views and disgust at his inability to say exactly what is wrong with them (or so he once remarked in his social philosophy seminar).
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  34.  9
    Some Critical Comments on Long 2013: "Why Libertarians Believe There is Only One Right".J. C. Lester - 2014 - In Explaining Libertarianism: Some Philosophical Arguments. Buckingham, England: The University of Buckingham Press. pp. 85-94.
    This essay explains various significant errors, imprecisions, and omissions concerning libertarianism in Long 2013. The “right not to be aggressed against” is not, as such, the libertarian right because the ‘right to liberty’ must be that right (although not being aggressed against can charitably be interpreted as equivalent). There are non-libertarian rights, but they don’t override the right to liberty. Unsupported assumptions are inevitable because justifications are impossible. Rights should not be “defined” but, rather, morally and metaphysically theorised—with criticism permanently (...)
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  35.  15
    A Critical Commentary On Kukathas's "Two Constructions Of Libertarianism".J. C. Lester - 2012 - Libertarian Papers 4.
    Kukathas’s proposed libertarian dilemma is introduced and two key criticisms of it stated. The following critical commentary then makes several main points. Kukathas’s account of libertarianism offers no theory of liberty at all, nor a coherent account of aggression. Consequently, he cannot see that his “Federation of Liberty” is not libertarian by a basic understanding of morals and non-invasive liberty, still less by a more precise theory of liberty. In trying to explain his “Union of Liberty,” Kukathas evinces considerable confusion (...)
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