Jan Narveson is one of the most significant contemporary defenders of the libertarian political position. Unlike other libertarians who typically defend their view with reference to natural rights or an appeal to utilitarianism, Narveson's main contribution has been to offer a philosophical defence of libertarianism based on a Hobbesian individualist contractarian ethic. Critiques of Narveson's contractarian libertarianism fall into three categories, those that reject contractarian moral theory, those that reject any link between contractarianism and libertarianism and those that accuse libertarians of conflating liberty with property. In this book Malcolm Murray brings together the most significant of Narveson's critics and presents their work alongside replies by Jan Narveson.
Malcolm Murray is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy, University of Prince Edward Island, Canada.
'Jan Narveson’s libertarian contractarianism is one of the most distinctive and important positions in contemporary moral and political philosophy. The contributions to this long overdue and exceptionally well-organized collection are uniformly excellent; each being a contribution to the literature in its own right and together constituting a volume that stands as a landmark work in the current debates that concern the issues addressed. Liberty, Games, and Contracts is not only a celebration of Narveson’s work; it shows clearly why it should be celebrated - and it is also clear why it in its turn should be celebrated too. This volume must be read by anyone interested in contemporary moral and political philosophy. ' James Stacey Taylor, The College of New Jersey, USA ’Students of libertarian ideas and of moral philosophy should find useful many of the essays contained herein...Recommended.’ Choice ’This festschrift offers high level philosophy on contracts, transactions, autonomy, games and social structures. Students of political philosophy, ethics, and philosophy of economics will find the contributions lucid and the dialogue with dem Gefeierte entertaining. Malcolm Murray and the contributors have done an excellent job. The book is very well indexed [...] and the list of works cited is impeccable. One can only hope, together with Narveson himself, that this production brings this branch of thinking to the attention of wider interested public.’ Ethical Perspectives ’... this volume truly honours Narveson in the best way a philosopher can be honoured by his friends, students, and admirers. ... The essays are well-written and taken together provide a very nice set of commentaries on Narveson's work. ... the merit of this volume goes further than just supplying some interpretations and readings of Narveson, it addresses some very basic concerns about the foundations and implications of the contractarian enterprise.’ Journal of Economics and